Ingrown nail (Unguis incarnatus) is an acquired change that most commonly occurs on thumbs of the feet. Reasons for ingrown nail into surrounding soft tissue are mostly: distorted foot static (flat feet), uncomfortable and tight footwear and wrong care.
It is well known that some types of footwear potentiate ingrown nails: so-called ‘all star nail’ often gotten by young people wearing their favorite sneakers.
This trouble has always been dealt with by pedicurists. But, the problem often surpasses their possibilities, so a surgical procedure is required.
Segment of surgery that deals with pathology of feet is called podiatry.
In order to understand this painful process more easily, we need to get familiar with basic information on the nails themselves.
Nails are, in some way, an analogy to animal claws. They are formed out of a plate-like keratin tissue, placed at the periphery of fingers. They grow out of their base towards the periphery and end with a free margin. Edges of the nail plate are leaned on soft tissue of fingers and are edged by it. It is important to know that the free margin of the nail plate should be cut straight, in order to avoid bending. If – due to wrong cutting – the plate bends and, besides that, gets exposed to continuous pressure, there is an ingrowth from one or both edges into the skin and soft tissue of the lateral parts of fingers. Nail plate, which is at first flat, now becomes more and more bent, and in cross section has a shape of a horseshoe. Another thing: people with ingrown nails often violently and radically cut their nails by themselves – and by that, they cut the edges of the free margin and a part of the ingrown lateral edge. It only temporarily solves the problem, until the nail grows again and assumes even stronger position with ingrowth into the soft tissue. Then, the same problems appear all over again due to which patients avoid moving. And due to the impossibility of wearing special or modern footwear – it becomes more than a health problem!
If a nail plate – due to wrong cutting –bends and, besides that, gets exposed to continuous pressure, there is ingrowth from one or both edges into the skin and soft tissue of the lateral parts of fingers.
If the nail plate is being timely, patiently and regularly cut – by shaping a free margin in a straight line, there is a chance for the problem to be solved. Otherwise, surgical intervention is inevitable.