Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Ingrown toenails: we all hate them and we’ve suffered from them at one time or another. However, with the right information on how to treat them, the next time you end up with insufferable ingrown toenails you can minimize your discomfort, get your tootsies back to normal in record time, and get back to your life.
Not sure what an ingrown toenail is? This painful condition happens when the corner of the toenail begins to grow into the flesh of the toe. Most times it is the big toe that suffers from an ingrown toenail. This creates a very uncomfortable, often painful feeling, which includes swelling, redness and if left untreated, an infection.
The good news is that if diagnosed early on, ingrown toenails can be taken care of yourself without the need for medical assistance. However, if your ingrown toenail happens to cause you extreme pain and discomfort, contains pus, or if you notice the swelling and redness beginning to spread to other areas, you’ll want to make an appointment to see your doctor right away.
It is very important that those who are diabetic or suffer from poor circulation in the foot area seek medical treatment right away since these two conditions can make a simple ingrown toenail become a more severe infection or sore.
For those currently suffering from ingrown toenails, there are a few home remedies you can do to treat your problem before it gets worse. At the first sign of an ingrown toenail, soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes at least three times a day to reduce tenderness and swelling.
For pain and discomfort take any over-the-counter pain relievers. Be sure to read the directions and avoid taking too many pills in one day. If the pain becomes worse, seek medical attention.
When not wearing shoes, put a wad of a cotton ball underneath the ingrown toenail after each time you soak your feet. Switch out the cotton ball wad with a fresh one after each foot soak.
The purpose of the cotton ball is to help the toenail grow above the skin instead of into it. Additionally, apply a topical antibiotic to the area and top it off with a bandage to keep the ingrown toenail clean. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes or else it will make your ingrown toenail worse.
If these treatments don’t work or if the condition of your ingrown toenail gets worse, then see your doctor. Of course one way to avoid having to deal with this condition is to practice prevention so that your toenails don’t have a chance to turn into ingrown ones.
One of the best ways to avoid getting an ingrown toenail is to wear shoes that are not only comfortable but fit right. Wearing shoes that are too tight are one of the main causes for ingrown toenails. Wearing tight fitting shoes constantly will cause your toenails to grow directly into your skin because it doesn’t have anywhere else to go.
Additionally, keeping your toenails from growing too long is also another way to prevent an ingrown toenail. Shorter toenails that are clipped straight across instead of curved will allow your toenails to grow out properly.