What is an Ingrown Thumb Nail: Symptoms, Infection, Removal and Treatment

When brainstorming an ingrown nail, most unquestionably imagine toenails – specifically big toes. Whilst this is very common and affects many adults, teenagers and children internationally, ingrowing finger nails are also a prevailing medical condition. Typically materializing most commonly on the thumb, they can arise on any finger including the pinky nail.

Generally painful and unpleasant for the sufferer, ingrown thumb nails will warrant swift treatment to avoid causing impairment and potentially developing infection. Luckily, learning how to fix ingrown hand nails is a pretty simple process with many methods of how to remove them being applicable to be administered at home.

What is an Ingrown Nail?

Whether the occurrence is on your hands or toes, the question of ‘what is an ingrown nail’ follows the same basic principles. An ingrown nail develops when its edges cultivate downward into the skin as a result of poor shaping or improper cutting with a nail tool.

Either side of the nail bed can be cut and penetrated as a result, leaving the entire nail area feeling sore and galling. In sinister cases, an ingrown nail can become infected and may require antibiotic treatment or surgery for full recovery.

Ingrown Thumb Nail Symptoms

Ingrown thumb nail symptoms are typically characterized by swollen skin, redness and painful sensations when touched. The nail may also exhibit intermittent throbbing despite no physical contact. You may also visibly be able to view the corners of your nail burrowed into your flesh, and in severe cases they may be utterly hidden underneath the skin.

If your ingrown hand nail becomes infectious, more weakening effects are likely to occur. You may notice secretion of yellow pus and even blood, and the nail will feel incredibly tender with accompanying swelling.

How Does an Ingrown Thumb Nail Infection Develop?

In many cases, an ingrowing nail remains uninfected and isn’t considered upsetting. But if infection occurs, you could arouse serious damage if left untreated. Professionally referred to as paronychia, infected tissue surrounding an ingrown nail can be caused by a candida (fungal) infection or even staphylococcus bacteria. Such infectious agents can find their way beneath the skin in areas your nail edges have pierced, hence causing the entire area to become infected over time. If not examined by a practitioner and left without opprtune treatment, these infections could develop into painful abscesses and become greatly concerning. If suspicious you’ve contracted an ingrown thumb nail infection, it’s crucial to visit your doctor for diagnosis.

And in the worst possible cases of untreated nail infections, a felon could develop. Defined as a chronic infection that’s stretched to affect the surrounding fingertip, this can result in feverish symptoms and extended redness that travels further than the nail itself. Osteomyelitis could also develop, in which the corresponding finger bone becomes affected.

Ingrown Thumb Nail Treatment

Unless told otherwise by a healthcare professional, there’s a strong possibility you can provide effective ingrown thumb nail treatment yourself at home. One of the most strikingly recommended techniques is applying regular warm compresses to the affected nail at least 2 times per day. Alternatively, you can soak the entire nail in a bowl of warm water for an increased soothing effect, with additional Epsom salts or tea tree oil to increase its potency. This should be repeated at least twice daily and your nail should remain immersed for at least 10 minutes.

If diagnosed with infection, topically applying an antifungal remedy or even antibiotic ointment is the most likely course of action. When asking how to prevent further damage, it’s likely your doctor will stress the importance of keeping the entire nail covered with a secure bandage.

Ingrown Thumb Nail Removal

Whilst typically considered more commonplace with ingrown toenails, surgical ingrown thumb nail removal may be necessary in particularly extreme cases. This is generally only administered as a last resort, with prime candidates being those who suffer recurring ingrown fingernails that cause almost constant discomfort.

An operation will be performed in which either part or all the nail in question will be removed. In partial nail eradication, only the section of nail that’s ingrown into the skin will be taken out. But more rife cases may require removal of the nail bed in its entirety.

However, in minor cases, a simple procedure of nail lifting may be sufficient. This technique successfully separates the nail from the adjacent skin, and involves a somewhat barrier being placed between the two – this is usually comprised of a piece of cotton or even dental floss if appropriate.

This procedure promotes the nail to grow on top of the skin as opposed to downwards, and is generally considered a very effective treatment method.




Article References:

  1. https://www.medicinenet.com/ingrown_toenail/article.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513138/
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/toenail-fungal-infection-guide/dangers-of-ignoring-toenail-fungal-infections/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/felon-a-to-z
  5. https://www.curejoy.com/content/tips-to-get-rid-of-an-ingrown-toenail-naturally/