How to treat and prevent ingrown toenails
An ingrown toenail can develop for a variety of reasons, and some people are more prone to the condition than others. It basically occurs when the corner or edge of your toenail curves and grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. The condition is very common, but usually affects the big toe. It is mainly caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet putting pressure on the nail which results in the natural growth being changed.
As the toenail pierces the skin the resulting irritation is a gateway for bacteria. The result may be an inflammation of the area surrounding the ingrown nail. An inflammation is usually associated with the secretion of wound fluid or even pus. In this case, a medical professional should be consulted. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can progress to an infection or even an abscess that could require surgical treatment.
What are ingrown toenail home remedies?
If it’s the early stages in the growth of the ingrown toenail and there are no signs of inflammation, then home care may be successful in preventing the need for surgery. Soaking the affected foot in warm water may help reduce swelling and ease pain. Keep the foot clean and dry during the rest of the day. Hot water softens the skin around the ingrown nail and you may be able to lift a corner of the nail in order to remove it from the skin. Place cotton, dental floss or a splint under it. This separates the nail from the overlying skin and helps the nail grow above the skin edge.
Most ingrown toenails are not serious. They should improve within a week with the proposed home care.
How to prevent ingrown toenails
Make sure your socks and shoes fit properly. You should be able to wiggle your toes easily in your shoes. If you have suffered from ingrown toenails in the past you should take extra care of your choice of shoes. Wear properly-fitted shoes with plenty of width in the toe box, for instance clogs or slippers made of broadcloths that are very soft and avoid putting any pressure on the toenail.
In addition, select shoes made from fabrics which allow the foot to breathe properly and therefore prevent sweating. If the skin on the toes and feet is moist and warm, there is a higher chance of developing an ingrown toenail. A fungal infection can increase the risk. Slippers made of virgin wool carry the desirable characteristics of breathability, as well as the ability to draw moisture away from the feet. They are a good choice of shoes to prevent ingrown toenails.
As wrong nailcare can also result in ingrown toenails you need to take extra care. The easiest way to prevent an ingrown toenail is to cut your nails straight across, rather than rounding off the corners. Use a toenail clipper, or if you use scissors, cut the nail in several short movements.
Sometimes an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running. Again, wearing proper shoes to protect your feet can help prevent such trauma from happening.
Diabetics should take extra care to prevent ingrown toenails. Due to their diminished ability to feel pain sensation in the feet, the risk of ingrown toenails going undetected increases. As mentioned earlier, ingrown toenails can result in need of surgery and intensive medical care if left untreated. In order to avoid this happening, it is advisable to get professional pedicures on a regular basis (at least once a month) or seek the help of a podiatrist for professional advice.