Ingrowing toenails are formed when the edges of the nails start growing inside the skin of the toes. It can also happen if the toenail gets deformed and starts growing improperly into the skin, or the skin itself starts growing abnormally fast, engulfing the sides of the nail. In the starting the condition may remain asymptomatic, but may become painful after sometime.
There may be several reasons for this condition, but mostly it occurs because of wearing ill fitting shoes, trimming nails in the form of curve rather than straight and not maintaining proper hygiene. Most of the time, big toe is known to be frequently affected with this condition.
Ingrowing toe nails are common in people with sweaty feet. It is also common in older people, as the nails thicken over age. People who are involved in extensive foot work, like athletes are also prone to this condition, due to regular pressure and injury on the toe nails for long periods.
So the causes of ingrowing toe nails can be summarised as-
- Incorrect trimming of toe nails
- Narrow, tight and ill fitting shoes which put a lot of pressure on the big toe
- Toe nail injury, due to stubbing of toe or dropping any heavy object
- Not maintaining the proper foot hygiene with regular sweaty feet
- Doing activity or playing games that cause regular pressure and injury to the large toe, like doing ballet or playing games like soccer, football, kickboxing, etc.
- Genetic predisposition
- Abnormal gait
- Fungal infections of the toes
- Diabetes, etc.
In the starting the ingrowing toe nails may cause no symptoms but eventually it becomes painful when the skin around the toe becomes hard, tender and swollen. In the starting the pain is felt only when the pressure is applied on the affected area, which may be red and warm on touching. There may also start fluid deposition around the nail.
If the toe becomes infected, there is rapid increase in pain, swelling and redness. There may be pus formation around the nail with occasional bleeding due to development of granulation tissue, if the condition becomes chronic. There may also be overgrowth of skin around the infected toe.
Diagnosis of this medical condition is evident clinically and does not require any lab tests or imaging. Presentation of ingrowing toe nail may vary according to the state of the toe. In milder forms, clinically it may present with just pain on applying pressure with incurvation of the toe nail. Presentation of just redness and swelling around the toe nail may also suggest the diagnosis of ingrowing toe nail. In the case it is infected, there is presence of severe redness, swelling, redness, pus and drainage.
If infected toe nail is left untreated, the infection can penetrate deeper into soft tissues and reach the bones, causing osteomyelitis. Slowly there may be scarring of the surrounding tissues and nail borders. The nails may become thick and deformed, and get infected with fungus. If the condition becomes chronic there may be formation of granulation tissue, with is highly vascular and may lead to frequent bleeding.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. The medicines work on the basis of symptom similarity keeping a holistic approach for treatment. In the case of ingrowing toe nails, homeopathy not only relieves the symptoms of the disease, but also address the underlying cause of the disease with individual susceptibility. For individualised mode of treatment patients should look for the best homeopathic doctor for getting the holistic treatment.
The medicine is chosen according to the unique and characteristic symptom of the disease, present in an individual. Though there are several common homeopathic medicines that are prescribed on the therapeutic basis, like graphites, Lachesis, silicea, natrum mur, etc, it is always better to consult the best homeopathic doctor for individualised constitutional medicines.