An ingrown nail is a widespread nail infection that usually affects the primary toenail more that the other nails. The medical term for the nail infection is onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates. The illness may be triggered by several factors; but the infected ingrown nail begins as a microbial inflammation in the soft tissues surrounding the corners of the toe nails. This prevents anything from going under the nail and causing infection. The infection also makes the flesh to penetrate into the sliver of the nail. The corners of the toenail become inverted, grow inward into the skin and painfully cut into the sides of the nail bed. As the infection progresses, the infected ingrown nail begins to grow extra tissue and develop a skin abscess. The area becomes swollen and painful to touch and the surface of the skin appears red or pink and is often accompanied by discharge of pus or yellowish fluid from the sides of the ingrown nail. Bad nail care, injury to the nail bed and wearing ill fitting footwear are the common triggers for this condition. This can also be genetic, where abnormal predisposition or nail deformities can run in the family. In rare and extreme conditions, the disease may infect the bone in the infected toe and the condition is medically known as osteomyelitis.
Symptoms of Ingrown Nail
Typical ingrown nail symptoms include curling up of the affected nail from the sides and digging into the skin, causing pain, redness and infection. The most important symptom of the infection is the swelling in the sides of the nail. The affected nail will become sore and painful to touch, especially along the margin of the nail. The folds of the nail will become reddish and form pus or a yellow discharge; sometimes the discharge from the infected areas can be watery with traces of blood. The nail will become sensitive to the slightest of pressures, producing very sharp and excruciating pain, since the pressure will puncture the tissues in the toes. The ingrown nail will become susceptible to infections unless it is kept clean to avoid aggravating the condition.