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Ingrown Fingernail

Updated on January 7, 2018

Ingrown Fingernail and The Problems Afoot

Ingrown fingernail is perhaps the most common form of nail diseases that include convex nails or presence of small corns. It is a painful condition in which the edge of the nail grows into the skin and breaks the skin. It occurs in both the nails of the hands and that of the feet. However, the ingrown toenail is more common than the ingrown fingernail. Ingrown fingernail whether it is the toe or the hand finger, causes immense pain along the margins of the nail. This condition and the pain involved with it will often become unbearable on wearing tight footwear. Also, weight bearing activities like excessive walking aggravates the pain involved with ingrown fingernail as the pressure that is thereby created around the infected nail causes tissue damage or necrosis.

The most common cause for ingrown fingernail is usage of unsuitable footwear or footwear that has inadequate room for the toes. Another reason that may cause this condition, but which is less common is the moisture content in the enclosed shoe. Hence, special care should be taken to keep the feet clean and dry at all times. Care should also be taken while cutting the nails as cutting the nail shorter than the flesh around can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. The fingernails usually grow outward without touching the skin around, but when it comes to the condition of ingrown fingernail, the edges of the nail seem to grow in the direction of the skin and the sharp edges often penetrate the skin. Not clipping the nails properly causes them to grow into the soft tissues of the skin. This causes pain and can also trigger a fungal infection at the site of discomfort.

The common symptoms of ingrown fingernail are redness, swelling and formation of pus or watery discharge along with small quantities of blood. Depending upon the extent of the infection, the treatment may involve some home remedies or even a surgical procedure. In some cases, partial nail removal may also be required. An easy way to soothe the pain caused by an ingrown fingernail is to massage the infected nail with warm olive oil. Olive oil not just reduces the pain but also helps in strengthening the brittle nails thereby promoting proper nail growth. Application of coconut oil and tea tree oil is helpful in case of infections as these natural oils have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities.

While cutting the nails from time to time is a good and a healthy practice, trimming them very short can also cause discomfort. Maintaining a regular nail care regime can help avoid ingrown fingernail and the pain it brings along.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Fingernail

Ingrown fingernail is a common problem with the toes rather than the hand fingers. Taking proper care of the feet will help prevent the pain and discomfort that an ingrown fingernail will cause. Whether you prefer to visit a salon or take necessary foot care steps at home, it is to be noted that foot care is an important part of personal care and should never be overlooked. Looking after your feet and pampering them the right way will not just make you look and feel better, this healthy practice will also keep infections at bay.

Typically, an ingrown fingernail is a condition where the toenail curves in and grows into the skin. It might be an edge of the nail or the entire nail that will cut into the skin around causing immense pain and discomfort. There might even be inflammation of the nail which may hamper your daily routine activities. Ensuring proper nail care will prevent this situation to a great extent. Here is how you can take care of your feet and toenails at home:

• Regular pedicure sessions at a salon or at home will keep your feet clean and hygienic. If visiting a salon, carry your own pedicure equipment.

• Using a toenail clipper that has straight edge will help in cutting the toenails properly leaving no room for any in-growth.

• Using disinfectant around the cuticles when there are cuts or tears will prevent any infection.

• If you have regular ingrown fingernails, it helps to generally lift the nail and place a small cotton roll under it. This will keep the nail wedged up and out of skin.

• Don’t cut the nails too short or curve the nail while cutting it.

• Do not dig the corner of the nail with a filer or clipper as this will promote in-growth.

• Soak your feet in warm soapy water with salt for a while daily. This will act as a disinfectant for your feet and the toenails.

• For a recurrent problem of ingrown fingernail, consult a podiatrist.

Treating an in growth of toenails is relatively easier and painless. However, if ignored, this problem can lead to further complications. Diabetic patients should be extra cautious as this condition affects the circulation. In people with poor circulation, any infection will take longer to heal and may even worsen the situation. Seeking medical help becomes necessary in such situation. Otherwise, proper nail care at home will help in treating ingrown fingernail.

An Overview on Ingrown Fingernail

Ingrown fingernail is not a very common problem compared to the ingrown toenails. This is the growth that happens inside the fingernails and causes a lot of discomfort. At the same time, it affects us a lot in our daily activities. The nail grows inside the skin and tears causing the fingers to swell and change the color of the skin. Sometimes it also causes pus formation around the ends and makes fingers a little tender too. It also causes pain if touched. Ingrown nails occur regularly and usually tend to return after a certain period of treatment.

This problem can be taken care of if proper precautions are taken. It is extremely critical to treat them with proper care. This problem can be taken care by many home remedies, by applying oral medicine on the time. The problem in the nail happens when the nail is not taken care of properly. It may be right to say that lack of hygiene is one of the prime reasons for causing ingrown fingernail. Among many reason that cause ingrown nails can be biting nails, not properly trimming them, giving different shapes to the nail and leaving the edges of the nail sharp. All of these cause or attract bacterial infection.

This mainly occurs to the thumbnail. One should also make sure that nails are cut in a proper sequence. Too long nails or too short nails can harm the delicate tissue around it. This can lead to a cut or breaking of tissue thereby becoming a haven for bacteria. Filing of nails in a hygienic manner can beat the pain of nurturing ingrown nails.

In healing of ingrown nails, vitamins play a vital role. Taking vitamin C at regular times helps in healing the ingrown nails and the surrounding parts of the finger. The intake of vitamins helps in boosting the immune system. Just like our clothes, our nails too say a lot about our health and hygiene. Treatment of these ingrown nails also involves surgical procedures. Massage of finger nails with warm water also helps the keep the infection at bay. Using of oils such as olive oil, tee tea oil and coconut oil are very effective too. One must also consider wear gloves while washing dishes as detergents contain harmful chemicals that could harm the nails. These chemicals tend to make the skin raw and tear them. Ingrown nails are also considered to cause septic. Overall, an ingrown fingernail can be avoided by maintaining discipline and punctuality.

Precautions for Onychocryptosis and A Rare Ingrown Fingernail Infection

Onychocryptosis is a kind of ingrown fingernail – a finger infection that happens on toes. It is also commonly referred as another word for ingrown fingernail. Onychocryptosis takes place when the edge of the nail grows downward and into the skin of the toe. This is common in adults and may not always cause pain but there have been instances that lead to severe redness, pain and swelling around the toenail. Onychocryptosis is believed to be an infection regardless of it is painful or not.

Among many causes that lead to Onychocryptosis is when a person chooses to wear wrong shoe size. Most people prefer wearing just the right shoe size and when it isn’t available, they prefer a smaller size for better grip. While this may provide good feet grip, the less space for feet attracts sweat and bacteria leading to Onychocryptosis. The same applies to shoes that are too loose. Of course, improper trimming of toenails can also lead to ingrown fingernail.

Onychocryptosis can also be a painful experience. The severity of pain also depends on the age, gender, medical condition of the person. Medical experts trust that people who smoke go through more pain due to ingrown fingernail than those who don’t light up. People with diabetes need to be extra cautious because not addressing the problem on time and as recommended can lead to disability. In rare cases there can be loss of finger too.

Among many ways to avoid Onychocryptosis is to trim the nails at regular intervals, always keep the feet clean and dry and only wear footwear that fits well. Trimming the nails too short or leaving it too long can also cause Onychocryptosis. As an overall health condition and to cut the ingrown fingernail, it is best suggested that one soaks the nails in warm water containing salt (salt is known to kill germs), baking soda or Epsom salt. This helps soften the ingrown nail which helps in trimming without any pain. While trimming, one must always round off the nails rather than cutting straight. Of course, it is needless to mention that only sharp trimmers must be used at all times.

Onychocryptosis cannot be taken lightly among adults with specific medical conditions. People with diabetes need immediate attention because the risk of imbalanced blood pressure increases thereby increasing the possibility of infection. Once the infection has grown, it may be a tough and painful process to heal.

Onychocryptosis can be avoided through taking good care of the feet. Ingrown fingernail, if addressed on-time and treated well, gives rise to happy feet!

What Causes An Infected Finger and How To Treat It

Infected finger needs extreme care as it can happen to anyone. This infection is primarily due to bacteria attracted to an open tissue on or around the nail or nail bed. Of course, an infected finger is troublesome but with adequate care and prevention this can be avoided.

In order to treat an infected finger, one must follow simple basic guidelines. Knowing how to treat this condition can be very handy but the learning experience is not too pleasant. Identifying the problem at the grass root level helps in proper and early treatment. Lack of attention may lead to disability and in some cases, loss of finger too. Seeking expert medical advice is priceless however it pays to read the early signs and foreseeing a potential problem.

It is advisable to get an overall assessment of health done. This may sound unnecessary but there are instances when an infected finger combined with diabetes or other health issues can complicate the infection. Medical diagnosis also helps in avoiding relapse of a finger injury. Some of the important questions to consider are how and when the infection started, did a specific infection occur anytime in the past, was the infection due to work or an animal or insect bite and if you have taken any home-made remedy before seeing the doctor.

Different infections have different history and analysis. Most finger infections have restrictions on what home-remedies can do however there are few infections that can be handled at home. The number one rule is to ensure hand-hygiene is maintained at all times. For example, soaking hands in warm water can help reduce infection accompanied with application of garlic paste. If this shows no signs of improvement, it is mandatory to seek immediate medical help.

Most medical treatments get you on antibiotics and you may be required to stay under the supervision of a doctor because there are chances that the antibiotics could react negatively or may not speed up the recovery process. Not to mention that some finger infections can be handled as an out-patient. Doctor’s advice must be strictly adhered to. In some cases, the doctor may advise you to hold your hand up even while resting. Again, this may sound tedious but is vital for an infection to heal faster.

Always revisit the doctor after the medical course is over. A medical assessment at this stage will clear all doubts and answer any questions regarding an infected finger. An infected finger is never a good thing to nurture and treatment on time saves the pain and effort later on.

Infected Finger and Different Types of Infections

There can be many reasons that cause an infected finger. Almost all infected fingers are a result of unhealthy bacteria doing the damage. Let’s look at the different types of finger infections and what’s at stake.

1. Paronychia: Paronychia is a finger infection that develops along the side of the fingernails. Believed to be among the world’s most common finger and hand infection; it is caused by skin bacteria entering the skin around the nail. Doctors and medicine experts believe this is caused by finger-sucking, nail biting, dish or clothes washing and sometimes even irritant chemicals. Paronychia usually starts by swelling around the nail where the pus is formed. At its peak, Paronychia makes the finger look disfigured. Pain, redness and pus collection are its commonly known symptoms.

2. Felon: One of the most common infections on the fingertip is Felon. This fingertip infection usually takes place around the finger pad and the delicate soft tissue associated with it. If you look closely, it occurs around the pulp space on the side of a finger. Experts consider it an infection of serious type and one that requires immediate and proper medication. Lack of treatment can lead to a damaged finger tip. Symptoms include swelling, redness and pain in the finger tip occasionally accompanied by fever.

3. Herpetic Whitlow: Herpetic Whitlow is probably the only finger infection that is caused by virus and not bacteria. The virus that causes Herpetic Whitlow is commonly known as herpes simplex virus. It is among the most painful of finger infections and common among thumb-sucking children or adults whose finger comes in contact with genitals. It isn’t surprising that medical workers like dentists also suffer from it. Symptoms of this painful infection include but are not limited to redness, swelling and skin tenderness. Fever is also a part of the symptom.

4. Cellulitis: Cellulitis is widely considered among the most painful of finger infections. Caused by the entry of bacteria through a normal or broken skin, Cellulitis has the tendency to spread under the skin. Most finger infections result in inflammation – a process that causes redness and swelling. Cellulitis is common among people who suffer from diabetes and traumatic problems.

Medical experts believe that most finger infections are caused by lack of hygiene and while they can be treated, it is hard to read the symptoms to completely avoid them. Fingers enhance the beauty of the hand and an infected finger steals away that charm.

Infected Finger And Finger Fungus

nfected finger is one of the most troublesome things to nurture. It is best to avoid any kind of finger infection rather than spending time having to get rid of it. Some of the best ways to avoid any finger infection is to use hand-sanitary sprays every few hours, not wear gloves when hands are wet, wash hands frequently and stay away from unattended food.

Fingers are a miracle in itself. It is a unique design that can do some of the most complex of things. It is important to keep them safe. Among many finger infections, there is finger fungus. The primary start of finger fungus comes from nail infection and when fungal organism resides in the nail bed. What’s worse is as the fungus grows the nail develops crumbling edges and eventually becomes thick. Experts around the world including established medical workers believe that having finger fungus can affect a person’s self esteem. Of course, the most unquestionable way to avoid and prevent finger fungus is to keep the fingers dry and clean at all times. This infection is mostly found in people who engage themselves in water including sailors or dirt/dust like miners. Staying clean is paramount and leads to healthy lifestyle. The toughest part is to stay away from water and stay dry.

Just because there are home-made remedies or easily available medicines doesn’t mean a person can take it easy. Just like inner wear or toothbrush, sharing of nail clippers and nail enamels can also lead to finger fungus. Most remedies for finger fungus are readily available but consume time to heal. Not using them in recommended manner can lead to rashes and in some cases, headaches too.

Out of many ways to cure finger fungus is to keep your fingers dry and in light. Fungus, as we all may know, tends to grow in darkness. If possible, mix some hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar and soak fingers in it. This may take longer than expected but is a sure shot way to get rid of the fungus. It may also help by using tropical creams. Tropical creams are easily available at most pharmacy stores. In fact, tropical creams are recommended and backed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

All said, if the fungus is still active after even couple of weeks then it’s time to see a doctor immediately. Please understand that an infected finger requires as much attention as any other body problem.

How You Can Avoid Getting An Infected Finger

Infected finger can be treated but more importantly avoided too. Injury or infection to any part of the body is possible and can be treated. Infected finger is a common concern among many people and usually starts off as a small problem. If this is not addressed on time, it may potentially grow into a bigger problem leading to disability or even loss of finger.

Fingers make our hands and hands are arguably one of the most useful parts of the human body. Paying a little attention can add to the overall well-being of fingers. This is critical for everybody. Whether you are a home-maker, a field-worker or work for a flashy corporate, the health of your finger is important. Also, infected fingers may hint at lack of hygiene in personality. Another very common habit among people is chewing nails. This must be avoided at all times.

There are many reasons that cause finger infections and most of them happen due to bacteria. Among many infections is also Herpetic Whitlow but this is caused to due virus and not bacteria. There is a broadly classified reason for an infected finger but where the infection is and how it starts is unique in its own case. Some of the popular finger infections are Felon, Paronychia, Cellulitis and of course, Herpetic Whitlow.

There is almost always a simple and easy way to avoid the most complex of problems and the same is with finger infections. Inculcating some healthy habits can help you avoid major issues. It is highly recommended you use a hand sanitizer every few hours. Regular and consistent usage of hand wash after meals and visits to the bathroom and outdoors can help keep the dangerous bacteria at bay. If your work requires you to wear gloves or any other hand gear, please ensure that you remove them every few hours and wash your hands. You may also want to consider wearing vinyl or latex hand gloves. Perspiration can also cause bacteria to develop at certain places. Please bear in mind that most finger infections have the tendency to develop and translate into bigger problems.

It is widely believed that some minor finger infections can be treated at home by use of luke-warm water but it is highly suggested to see a doctor. It is like the expression ‘a stitch in time; saves nine’. Every infected finger starts with no clear signs but a little care can help prevent pain in the future.

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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      interesting and so useful; thanks for sharing and voted up for sure.

      Eddy.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've known many people that have had to have surgery done for ingrown toenails. Looks very painful.

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