An ingrown toenail is a common foot condition that occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin surrounding the nail. This can result in redness, tenderness, swelling, and even infection.
Living with an ingrown toenail can be uncomfortable and painful, and it is essential to remove it as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies, home surgery techniques, and professional medical treatments that can help.
II. Natural Remedies
If you experience mild to moderate discomfort, you may find relief with natural remedies. Here are some options to try:
Warm Salt Water Soak
A warm salt-water soak is a simple and effective way to relieve pain and inflammation caused by an ingrown toenail. Fill a basin with warm water and add a tablespoon of salt. Soak your foot for 15-20 minutes, twice a day, for a few days until you notice improvement.
Tea Tree Oil Application
Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, making it a popular natural remedy for ingrown toenails. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply it to the affected area using a cotton swab. Repeat this process twice a day for a week or until the infection clears up.
Apple Cider Vinegar Application
Apple cider vinegar can help prevent infection and reduce inflammation caused by an ingrown toenail. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water, and apply the solution to the affected area using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, twice a day until your symptoms improve.
III. Home Surgery
If your symptoms are severe, you may need to perform home surgery to remove your ingrown toenail. However, this method should be done with caution, as it can lead to further complications if not executed correctly. Follow these steps:
Use of Nail Clippers
To remove the ingrown toenail, start by soaking your foot in warm water for 15-20 minutes to soften the nail and skin. Then, use a pair of sanitized nail clippers to carefully trim the nail straight across, avoiding curved edges. Avoid digging into the sides of the nail, as this can cause further damage to the skin and increase the risk of infection.
Use of Tweezers
Once the nail is trimmed, gently lift the corner of the nail that is ingrown using sanitized tweezers, and place a small piece of cotton between the nail and skin to encourage it to grow out properly. Repeat this process daily until the nail grows out completely.
IV. Physician’s Tips
If your condition worsens or you experience extreme pain, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Here are some expert tips on professional treatment:
The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention
Removing an ingrown toenail at home is not always safe, and it can lead to severe complications, such as persistent bleeding or severe infection. Seek medical attention if you experience significant discomfort, swelling, or pus drainage from the affected area.
The Procedure for Removing an Ingrown Toenail at the Doctor’s Office
If you visit your doctor, they will perform a minor surgical procedure to remove the toenail. They will inject local anesthesia to numb the toe before using a scalpel to lift the edge of the nail and trim it. In severe cases, they may need to remove the entire nail and apply a chemical to prevent nail regrowth.
After the procedure, you may experience some swelling and discomfort, which can be relieved with proper rest, foot elevation, and pain medication if prescribed. To aid healing, keep the affected area clean and dry and change any dressings as instructed by your doctor. It takes between two to four weeks for fully healing after the procedure.
V. Prevention Methods
Prevention is the key to avoiding ingrown toenails. Here are some tips to keep your toes and nails healthy:
The Importance of Regular Toenail Trimming
The best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to trim your nails properly, ensuring they are straight across without any curved edges. Also, avoid cutting your nails too short, as this could cause further problems.
Footwear and Socks That Can Contribute to Ingrown Toenails
Avoid wearing tight footwear or socks that cause pressure and rubbing, as this can cause ingrown toenails. Choose comfortable shoes that allow proper air circulation. Additionally, cotton or moisture-wicking socks can prevent fungal infections that may lead to ingrown toenails.
To prevent ingrown toenails, keep your feet clean and dry, especially after engaging in activities that cause sweating. Carry out regular toenail maintenance, including routine trimming, cleaning, and filing.
VI. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments
If natural remedies and home care don’t alleviate your condition, consider OTC treatments. Here are some of the best OTC products that you can use:
Antibiotic Creams or Ointments
You can buy antibiotic creams or ointments to apply to the affected area to eliminate mild infections. Follow the instructions on the label and apply the cream or ointment regularly for a week or as instructed.
Toenail Braces or Splints
Toenail braces or splints work by allowing your nails to grow above the skin without entering the surrounding tissue. They prevent the nail from growing down into the skin, promoting proper regrowth patterns.
Pain Relief Medications
If ingrown toenails cause you significant discomfort or pain, consider taking pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. They can help alleviate the pain temporarily or until you get more advanced treatment.
After removing the ingrown toenail, proper aftercare is necessary to prevent complications. Here are some tips:
Take good care of your feet after the ingrown toenail removal procedure to help prevent infection. Clean your feet with soap and water and apply antibacterial ointments or dressings as recommended by your physician. You can also avoid strenuous activities for a few days after the procedure.
Proper Hygiene and Wound Care
It is crucial to keep the wound clean and dry to prevent further infections. Dress the wound with sterile gauze and change it regularly to prevent infections. Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes, especially until the wound fully heals.
Caring for Regrowing Toenail
Be sure to trim and maintain your toenails regularly after they regrow completely. This includes keeping your toenails straight and avoiding cutting them too short or too close to the skin.
Ingrown toenails can be uncomfortable, but with the appropriate technique, you can alleviate the pain and discomfort they cause. Whether you choose natural remedies, home surgery, OTC treatments, or professional medical care, always ensure that you take proper precautions to prevent complications. By following these tips and techniques, you can get rid of your ingrown toenails and maintain healthy toes and nails in the future.