IntroductionSometimes side or corner of toenails grow into soft flesh. Skin grows over the nail. Hence the name ingrown nails. Ingrown toenails are an unpleasant and painful condition. The pain aggravates every time toes are accidentally knocked or when they are used to carry out the daily movement. This condition can occur at any age. It is also known as onychocryptosis. It is a common toenail problem. If care is not taken, it can get infected. In mild cases, a person only experiences slight pain and swelling whereas in severe cases, there can be inflammation and excruciating deep pain. There are lots of causes for ingrown toenails. The most common one is improper trimming or cutting of nails, trauma and not adopting proper foot hygiene. Ingrown nails usually affect the big toe. However, other toes can also be affected. This common problem can be easily treated at home. Below-mentioned tips will help in preventing and treating ingrown nails and stop them from getting infected or inflamed.
How to prevent onychocryptosis?Prevention is always better than cure. Thus, adopt these simple tips and regularly practice foot hygiene to prevent painful ingrown toenails from developing. The first simple way of preventing ingrown toenail is to remain careful. Those who regularly get them should be extra cautious. Some of us might have had them before. Such people should regularly lookout and take every effective measure to prevent corners of toenails from growing into soft flesh.
Tips to prevent ingrown toenails from getting infected
Home remedies to self treat ingrown toenailsBelow-mentioned home remedies can help in the treatment of painful ingrown toenails.
Warm water is not only soothing but also prevents inflammation. Soak feet in warm water. Add some Epsom salts to it. Regularly soaking for nearly 15-20 minutes can help nails to grow outward. Risk of infection and inflammation also decreases as debris are pushed outside that will prevent the buildup. Later, apply some antibiotic ointment over the affected and surrounding area. Water will soften the ingrown toenail but do not use hot water. Warm water with Epsom salt is more than enough. Instead of adding Epsom salts, one can also add povidone-iodine to cold water and soak the foot in it. It is an antiseptic that can prevent the risk of infection.
Apple cider vinegar wash is a natural and effective treatment for an ingrown toenail. Just add some amount to warm water and soak the foot in it for some time. Or else one can also directly apply it to the affected nail. Apple cider vinegar is antibacterial and thus prevents the risk of bacterial infection and accelerates the healing process. Moreover, adding it to warm water soothes the inflamed skin.
To treat a painful ingrown toenail, it is important to first get rid of pain and decrease the inflammation from surrounding skin. Hydrogen peroxide is the best remedy for the purpose. It makes the surrounding skin soft and decreases pain and signs of infection from it. One can also directly apply it to an affected ingrown toenail. However, be careful and do not leave it for a prolonged time as it may rupture the surrounding healthy skin tissues. Best way to use it is to add it to water and soak the foot in it for 15 minutes.
Certain oils such as baby oil and tea tree oil if applied regularly to the toenails can soften the skin and moisturize it which in turn will take some pressure off from toenail. When pressure is relieved, one can slowly see the improvement in the condition. Moisturizing the surrounding skin is an effective way to encourage ingrown toenails to grow outwards. Tea tree oil has certain properties such as it is antibacterial and antifungal that prevents the risk of infection. Massage these oils by adding them to a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Regular massages will keep the surrounding skin healthy. Thus, the healthy environment created will promote the healing of ingrown nail. Also, these oils can relieve some pain from the area.
When suffering from an ingrown toenail, it is advisable to keep it covered with a bandage to prevent accidental injury and risk of infection. Keeping it exposed can subject it to trauma as well as dirt and debris get settled in it making it inflamed. However, instead of simply covering it with a bandage, it is more beneficial to first layer it up with freshly squeezed lemon juice as well as honey. Both these ingredients are antimicrobial. Leaving them overnight under the bandage can prevent the risk of infection. This treatment is particularly beneficial if the ingrown nail has become slightly painful and shows oedema and redness in the surrounding skin.
To treat an ingrown toenail, it is necessary to offer some help to it so that it can grow in the correct direction. This can be done by placing cotton wisps under it. Alternatively, dental floss can also be used. Corner of the nail is inside the skin. It has to be lifted. Place cotton wisps or dental floss between nail folds and nail plate so that nail remains elevated for a long time that promotes its growth in an outward direction and not inside the skin. The most important point to note here is to carry out the procedure very gently and not forcefully elevate the nail. It has to be done preferably after soaking foot as it softens nail to a great extent. Gradually every day push the roll slightly farther inside. Also, change the roll regularly. If done properly, within a couple of weeks, the nail will start growing away and outside the skin.
Precautionary measuresIngrown toenail is a common problem and can be treated at home. However, in certain conditions, it is essential to go to the doctor to seek help. Such conditions are mentioned below.