When the edges or corners of a toenail develop into the skin next to the nail and split the skin, it is called an ingrown toenail.
It’s a common ailment that can be painful, resulting in swelling, redness, and infection. The big toe is normally affected, either on one or both sides.
Ingrown toenails can normally be managed at home, but if the pain is serious or spreading, you should seek medical attention to avoid complications and alleviate symptoms.
Complications are more common in individuals who have impaired circulation, such as those who have diabetes or peripheral artery disease.
In this post, we’ll discuss the causes and treatments of ingrown toenail.
What is an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails affect both men and women. They could be more popular with people who have sweaty feet.
Since toenails thicken with age, older people can be more vulnerable.
Trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes, can lead to an ingrown toenail.
Causes of an ingrown toenail
Ingrown toenails are caused by dropping something on the foot, kicking something heavy, and other injuries.
An unusual curvature
This raises the possibility of the toenail growing into the soft tissue, causing inflammation and infection.
Poor foot hygiene or excessive sweating
An ingrown toenail is more likely to develop if the skin on the toes and feet is moist and wet. A fungus infection will make things worse.
Some people are born with disproportionately long toenails.
Treatments for Ingrown Toenail
1. Choose footwear that fits properly
Shoes, socks, tights, and stockings are all included. Shoes must be the proper length and width to avoid crowding the toes.
Also, shoes that are too tight cause friction, while shoes that are too loose cause the toes to rub against the tip of the foot. This adds to the strain and can result in an ingrown toenail.
2. Soak in Warm Water
For a few days, soak your foot in warm water 3 to 4 times a day to soften the skin around your toe and prevent the nail from growing into it.
Soaking the affected foot can help alleviate swelling and relieve pain.
Three times a day, soak your foot in warm, soapy water for up to 20 minutes at a time.
Castile soap is a decent option. To get relief, some people mix Epsom salts with water.
3. Place cotton or dental floss under your toenail.
Put fresh bits of cotton or waxed dental floss under the ingrown edge after each soaking. The nail would be able to rise above the skin’s edge as a result of this.
Cotton placed underneath your nail will relieve pain while also preventing dangerous bacteria from flourishing.
Soaking the cotton or floss in alcohol before use will help minimize the risk.
4. Soak in Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a folk remedy for nearly a century. It is thought to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects, despite the lack of empirical evidence.
To try this solution, fill a basin with warm water and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
Soak the affected foot for up to 20 minutes per day. After soaking, dry your foot thoroughly.
5. Nail Removal
If home remedies fail to heal an ingrown toenail, partial or complete nail removal may be needed.
Using a local anesthetic, a doctor may remove a portion of the nail line, the underlying nail bed, or a portion of the middle growth plate.
In severe, chronic cases, the entire incarnated nail may be removed.
This is the last resort, and it’s a potentially invasive procedure that increases the risk of infection. It also increases the chances of your toenail being malformed when it regrows.
6. Wear Toe Protectors
A toe protector serves as a cushioning shield for ingrown toenails. Toe protectors are available as rings that fit around the affected area or as shielding for the entire toe.
Some toe protectors have a medicated gel to help soften toenails so they can be trimmed quickly. Treat the ingrown nail as directed until it is gone.
If the patient has any of the following signs, he or she may see a doctor:
- They suffer from diabetes or
- a circulatory disorder.
- If the symptoms do not improve, an infection can develop.
Some of the nails that are pressing into the skin can be removed by a healthcare professional.
The majority of ingrown toenails aren’t serious. With proper home care, they will recover in about a week without causing permanent damage. Use the ingrown toenail treatments we discussed.
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can cause severe pain and inflammation, which can spread to the bone.
It’s natural for toenails to grow back, particularly if you don’t take preventative measures.