Ingrown nails, or ingrowing nails, commonly occur on the first toe and to a lesser extent on the small toes. Ingrown nails arise from a nail spike splitting from the nail plate and penetrating the surrounding nail sulcus. This will initially cause some discomfort; however, as the nail grows the spike is forced deeper into the nail sulcus which can cause a portal for infection.
Following infection of the nail sulcus, a tight, throbbing inflamed toe will result. The nail spike will itself cause the wound not to heal and granulation tissue will result.
In some severe cases the granulation tissue may cover almost the entire nail plate. The most common causes of ingrown nails are poor cutting technique, nail trauma, hyperhydrosis (sweaty feet), and poorly fitting footwear.
Treatment is aimed at correcting the most likely cause of the ingrown nail. Conservative trimming of the nail is usually tried to relieve the symptoms; however, if the ingrown nail is a recurrent problem, a surgical wedge resection and matrix sterilization will be the best option for a permanent cure. This can be performed under local anesthetic in a day surgery situation.