Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: December 31, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412961165 | Print ISBN: 9781412961158 | Online ISBN: 9781412961165| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jennifer S. Weibel
Ingrown toenails are a common cause of toe pain. Usually occurring on the lateral (outer) side of the large toe, they are caused by abnormal growth of the nail plate into the surrounding tissue. The affected tissue responds to the invading nail plate as if it were a foreign body and becomes painful, inflamed, and occasionally infected. Common causes of ingrown toenails in athletes are poorly fitting shoes, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), and improper nail trimming. This problem is rarely seen in preteens, and its incidence increases with age. Minor ingrown nails are often treated at home without requiring medical attention. Severe cases may require a surgical procedure to remove the offending portion of the nail plate. Several structures comprise the nail unit. The nail plate itself is made from dead keratin (cellular protein), which is hard and translucent. The nail plate lies directly on top of and is attached to ...