An ingrown toenail is, no doubt, a painful condition that usually affects the big toe. The edge of the nail pierces the skin. Hence, it may cause infected ingrown toenail if left untreated. It can also spread into the bone structure of the foot.
The following are symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail:
- Redness around the nail
- Pain when touched
- Pressure under the nail
- Hardening of the skin around the nail
- Unpleasant smell
- Fluid from the nail
- Warmth in the area around the nail
- Cracked yellowing nails
Treat ingrown toenail immediately. It will avoid further complications. An infection can spread into the bone. Therefore, it might require intensive medication. A patient may also experience surgery. Hence, it is done to remove dead or dying tissue.
An ingrown toenail happens when a part of the toenail curves. It then grows into the surrounding skin. The common causes of it are:
- Hitting the toe
- Wearing tight shoes
- Cutting toenails too short
- Cutting toenails at an angle
3. Risk Factors
An infected ingrown toenail can happen to anyone. However, some people are more likely to have an ingrown. They are those who have a condition that reduces blood flow in the feet. Therefore, they may have diabetes. They experience severe complications when it happens.
Ingrown toenail treatment is possible to do at home. Try home remedies for ingrown toenails first. First, make sure that your hands are always clean. Check if you can get under the part of the nail that is piercing the skin. Do not try to pull it. You may lift gently with a piece of dental floss. If you can’t, do not force it. If you can, proceed with the next steps. Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt. You can also use coarse salt. As a result, it will soften the area. It can also help the fluid to drain out. Therefore, it may also reduce pain. Apply antifungal lotion directly to the nail. Do not forget the skin under and around it. You can reduce symptoms that cause discomfort by taking medicines.
Another home remedy for an ingrown toenail is by using apple cider vinegar. Combine warm water with apple cider vinegar. Soak your foot up to 20 minutes daily. Make sure to dry your foot after soaking. You can also use a toe protector. It will provide a cushion between the ingrown toenails. These protectors may come as rings to cover the affected area or the entire toe.
Moreover, you can try toe braces too. These are glued to the top of the toe. They will shield the skin from a sharp, ingrown nail. They will also lift the nail edges when they grow. Call your doctor if you have trouble walking. Make an appointment if the pain persists. A specialist best sees any infection that does not get better with home treatment.
See a Specialist
Furthermore, consult a doctor if the pain does not go. If you are feeling unsure about doing the procedures above, go to the hospital. Specialists may be more able to lift and get under the nail. They can also apply the area with medicine-soaked gauze. It will eliminate the infection. Hence, it will also aid the nail to grow out regularly. They can cut off the part of the ingrown nail. Doctors may also remove the nail’s border. They can include the nail bed too. However, for recurring cases, a removal of the entire ingrown nail is possible.
Ingrown toenails are not usually serious. Expect it to improve within a week. Proper home care will prevent permanent damage. Although it is likely to happen again if you don’t take steps to prevent them. Ensure your feet are checked regularly. Hence, it is true if you have diabetes. The nerve damage may lead you to think that there isn’t any infection. Additionally, it will delay the treatment and cause serious complications.
An effective ingrown toenail treatment is prevention. Wear comfortable shoes and socks. Wearing tight shoes and socks will crowd your toes. Therefore, it will increase the chances of having it. Use shoes and socks that fit but leave enough space for your toes. Avoid wearing shoes or any footwear after treatment. It is to limit the pressure on your toenails.