Ingrown toenails are a very common and painful condition of the toe. It occurs when the sides or corner of the nail grows inwards and penetrates the skin of the toe. Pain is often accompanied by swelling and redness. The condition is known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnatus. It is often seen in adults rather than children and is more common in men than women.
The conservative measures to treat a mild ingrown toenail include soaking the foot regularly in warm water, antibiotics to treat infection, pain relievers, and wearing open-toed shoes or sandals.
Untreated onychocryptosis may lead to an infection or even an abscess that necessitates surgical treatment. Matricectomy is a technique of removal of all or part of the base nail portion (nail matrix) using chemical, electrical, or surgical methods.
Ingrown toenail surgery is the best option to prevent the condition from recurring. The surgery should be considered when other local treatments have failed. The infection or abscess is drained from the end of the toe and extra tissue grown around the nail is removed. The ingrown toenail is cut along the edge and is pulled out. Electrocautery or a liquid solution is applied to the exposed part of the nail matrix to prevent the re-growth of the toenail again into the skin. This procedure is called wedge resection with nail ablation.