An ingrown toenail is also known as onychocryptosis. It is a very painful condition. In this, the sharp corner of the tone nail digs into the skin of the toe and often begins to grow into the toe. The condition is generally prevalent on the side of the toe. Pain and inflammation are the first symptoms of the ingrown toenail.
Often it becomes infected and may start to ooze pus or discharge from the side of the toe. It needs urgent treatment otherwise; it can turn into an abscess. Here are some simple and effective home remedies for treating an ingrown toenail.
Soak the feet in a tub of warm water every day. You can add salt to the water. This helps to kill any superficial bacteria and germs that may be present in the nail. It also helps to soften the nail. Once the nail has softened, it can be clipped.
Always wash your feet with soap and water while bathing. This keeps the area generally clean and sanitized. Therefore, you are unlikely to catch an infection, which might worsen the ingrown toenail.
One important home remedy is to place a support beneath the ingrown nail so that it continues to grow out straight and not into the nail. Take a small piece of cotton and roll it into a wick. Now lift the corner of the ingrown nail and place the wick beneath the nail. You will have to keep the wick or the gauze strip beneath the nail changing it once every day. This helps to straighten out the nail such that it no longer grows into your skin or digs into the skin of the nail.
Take ibuprofen or disprin, which are gentle and effective painkillers especially if you are finding the area inflamed or painful.
One very simple home remedy is to exercise caution while clipping toenails. Always cut them straight across and not curved, as it will not help the ingrown toenail. Use good quality nail clippers that will not tear your nails. Cut them short but not too short. With the help of a nail file, make sure that you smoothen out the rough and uneven edges of the nail.
Make sure you change your footwear as wearing too tight footwear can press on the nail and make it dig into the skin of your toe. Wear open toed footwear especially if you have ingrown toenails.
If you feel that the skin surrounding your nail is becoming infected, it is a good idea to add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the tub of water. Now soak your feet in this water. The vinegar will arrest the infection and prevent it from aggravating or hurting your feet.
Epsom salts in foot soaks are also very effective in reducing pain, tenderness and infection of an ingrown toenail. Put a handful of Epsom salts in your bath water and soak your feet in this water for at least 20-25 minutes for relief.
Always bandage the toenail especially if you have begun to suffer from an infection. Use a topical antibiotic ointment on the infection site and use a band aid to keep your toe covered. This will prevent dirt or grime from entering your toenail and worsening it.
Always apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the toes and the nails after a bath. The petroleum jelly will keep your feet soft, moisturized and the nails in pristine condition.
See if you can do a foot pedicure at home once a week. Inspect and examine your feet carefully and closely inspect them for blistering, pain or inflammation. Soak your feet in water, exfoliate them and clean your nails well in order to get rid of any residual debris that could cause an infection. Massage your toes as this too helps in preventing large-scale infections. Keep the nails short, clean and trim.
One way of preventing the toenail from becoming infected is to always soak your feet in a solution of warm water and potassium permanganate. The potassium permanganate acts as a natural disinfectant and helps to prevent infections of the nails and the feet.
One way of reducing pain and tenderness is to partially remove the nail. This you can do on your own or visit a doctor who will do the needful for you. It is better to see a qualified podiatrist who will do a better job of trimming or removing the nail.
You can place the wedge of a lemon against the infected toe nail and secure it well with a bandaid. This prevents the nail from digging into the skin. The acidic juice of lemon helps to arrest the infection and prevent it from exacerbating and aggravating thus saving you a lot of discomfort and pain.
After you have soaked your nail in salt water, make sure you apply a solution of hydrogen peroxide in and around the nail. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild antiseptic and may prevent the ingrown toenail from being infected.
Iodine ointments easily available with chemists are another good option for treating ingrown toe nails. The ointment may burn initially but is very good at giving relief to the toenail.
Change your socks and wear cotton socks only. Do not wear coloured or dyed socks as the dye from the socks may run and aggravate the existing wound if any. Stick to lightweight cotton socks only.
When at home, stay bare feet. This allows the air to circulate around your nail and speeds up healing of an infection.
With the help of these home remedies, you will easily be able to arrest and remove the ingrown toenail infection. Follow scrupulous and good foot hygiene always as a preventive step.