An ingrown thumbnail develops if the nail edges grow into the adjacent skin. Even though most cases affect the toenails, the condition can affect any nail including the fingers and the thumb.
Even though the precise root for an ingrown thumbnail and toenail tends to vary, the similar treatment is used to alleviate the signs and avoid any recurrence. Treatment at home can help solve and avert some cases of ingrown nails while other cases necessitate medical care.
What are the indications?
The skin surrounding the ingrown thumbnail might appear slightly reddened and swollen. There is slight discomfort or piercing pain especially if the thumb rubs or bumps against hard objects or surfaces.
As the nail continues to embed deeper into the soft tissue, there are signs of a developing infection including the drainage of pus.
What are the causes?
Various conditions can cause the thumbnail to become ingrown. Trauma, incorrect trimming and excessive external pressure can lead to the development of an ingrown thumbnail.
Management of an ingrown thumbnail
The affected nail should be immersed to relieve the tenderness and lessen the pain in a basin of warm water for up to 15 minutes at 3 times throughout the day.
Insert a small piece of cotton beneath the borders of the ingrown thumbnail to gently hold the nail edge far from the swollen skin. Dab on a topical antibiotic and apply bandage on the clean skin.
A doctor should be consulted if home treatment could not lessen the swelling and pain. In some cases, the doctor might remove a section of the nail or manage the infection using antibiotics.
Trim the thumbnail straight across instead of creating curved edges. Make sure that the length is kept even with the exterior edge of the outer top of the thumb.
Avoid any repeated movements that creates continuous pressure against the borders of the thumbnail.
If the individual has recurrent ingrown nails, the doctor might suggest the removal of a section of the nail or destroy a region of the site from which the thumbnail grows by cauterizing or freezing a section of the nail bed.