An ingrown toenail (Onychocryptosis or Unguis Incarnatus), a distorted growth of the toe nail digging into the skin, is a very painful condition. It usually occurs on the big toe but can occur on any other toe.
Sometimes a sharp corner of nail digs into the skin at the end or side of the toe creating an ingrown toenail. The first incidence of the pain is felt at the spot where it has occurred. In most cases, you can heal an ingrown toenail with simple home remedies barring some exceptions where medical intervention may be required.
Sometimes the sideways growth of the toenail can push the skin to edge in. It cuts the skin. This causes discomfort and if left untreated can become a serious problem to walk. Depending on the severity of the case the inflamed area can grow extra tissue or drain yellowish fluid which may require surgical treatment.
Exact reasons are not known as to why some people are more prone to ingrown toenails than the others, but certain conditions have been identified which lead to ingrown toenails. Poorly fitted shoes come among the top of the list of causes. Other common causes include poor posture, poor foot hygiene, injury or trauma, obesity, diabetes and toenail infections etc.
Ingrown toenail symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and yellow discharge.
Athletes are more prone to ingrown toenails.
Ingrown Toenail can be healed by Simple Precautions and Easy Home Remedies
Let us first look at precautions to avoid ingrown toenail. Prevention is always better than cure in every case. If all the potential possible causes of ingrown toenails, which are in your control are controlled, then you significantly reduce the probabilities of getting an ingrown toenail.
1. Prevent Ingrown Toenail by Better Toenail Hygiene
Following are some basic commonsense precautionary measures. Follow them to stop ingrown toenail.
- Make sure that you maintain a better foot hygiene not only just to avoid ingrown toenail but also to prevent any infections to the foot or the nails.
- Regularly trimming your toenails properly and wearing the shoes that fit you well without pressurizing the toes is a good starting point.
- Don’t cut your nail too short to avoid it digging into the skin as it grows.
- Also make sure that you don’t injure your toes during walks if you wear sandals. If it is injured them make sure that a proper antibiotic ointment is applied to stop the infection.
2. Soak Feet in Warm Salt Water
Soaking your foot in warm salt water for 15-20 minutes relaxes your feet and smoother nails. This will reduce your pain and heal ingrown toenails.
- Take a large bucket or container in which you can completely immerse your toenail or better the entire feet.
- Add warm water, not too hot to get burned but warm enough to feel good.
- Add some half a cup of Epsom salt. It is antifungal and antiseptic to take care of mild infection if any. Otherwise also it is good for your skin.
- Keep your foot in the bucket of 15 minutes.
After that wash and cleanse your foot by soap and drying it out with a towel. Soak your feet 3-4 times a day. Continue it for a week until the ingrown toenail is healed.
3. Use oil to soften the Skin and the Nail
Oil softens both the skin and the nail. Any oil should do the job. Coconut oil appears to do a good job of not only softening the skin but fighting the infection.
- Wash clean and dry your feet with warm water.
- Take on fourth teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Add 3-4 drops of Tea Tree oil and Mix it well. Tea Tree oil has better antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Apply the mixture on the toe and the nail. Push some oil between the front edge of the toenail nail and the skin with the help of a clean ear bud.
- Leave it for the rest of the day.
You can repeat the process twice a day. Within the next 3-4 days your ingrown toenail should heal.
It is always the little carelessness in the beginning that ends up creating trouble later, so treat the ingrown toenail in early stages. If any one of your toes gets injured, attend to it. If your shoes are pinching change them but don’t live with them. Wear open sandals if the weather allows.
Do something that relieves the pain and doesn’t spread the infection if any. Otherwise chances of getting ingrown toenail increases. Ingrown toenail is a simple problem, so don’t complicate it. Use home remedies to get rid of it.
If you neither took precautions nor did you manage the ingrown toenail well, then don’t become the surgeon. Don’t try to cut it at home. Take help of a doctor.
4. Essential Oils
The acidic nature of lemon juice helps to get rid of ingrown toenail. Wrap a slice of lemon on the ingrown with a bandage or gauze overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning and clean the area with any antiseptic lotion. Repeat the process again before going to bed.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be taken in two different ways to get rid of ingrown toenail. You can ingest diluted apple cider vinegar 3 times a day and/or apply it on the nail itself. Another way is to add apple cider vinegar in a plate of water and soak your toes by keeping your foot in the diluted apple cider. A couple of tablespoons of water in a liter of water is a good mixture.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant. It helps to soften the skin when applied on it. The softening of the skin reduces pain, prevents further infection and improves healing. You have to dilute it for use. Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bucket of water and soak your feet for 15-30 minutes. If you want you can apply diluted hydrogen peroxide directly on the ingrown toenail with the help of a cotton ball.
Ingrown toenail is an easy to deal with condition. If you take proper precaution and manage it well at home then you will not require to visit your doctor in most cases. However, If you have missed the early opportunity to take care of it, then don't wait any longer. Visit a doctor for help. If you don't take the help then the pain will increase and infection if any due to the ingrown toenail, will spread causing more difficulties.
If you get a fungal infection due to the mishandling of ingrown toenail, then remember this that the fungal infection will spread to other nails and it is very difficult to cure toenail fungus.