When you take off your shoes at the end of a long tiring day, the last thing you want to feel is the excruciating pain in your toe, most likely your big toe. When you sit down to get a better look at the toe in issue, you will notice the redness and swelling around the edge of your toenail. If you thought you were the only one who had to deal with the discomfort of ingrown nails, you would be surprised to learn that you are not the only one to deal with this painful issue. The pain of an ingrown toenail is challenging to treat. Even though an ingrown toenail may seem insignificant, it can cause severe pain and discomfort. Because our toes get a lot of wear and tear as we walk about, it worsens the pain. It may require 3-4 days of nail cutters, antibiotics, and Band-Aids for ingrown toenails to heal. However, sometimes ingrown nails need surgery. To relieve pain, treat the ingrown nail promptly.
What is Ingrown and What Causes It?
Our toenails can be unsightly and do things like crack, turn yellow, or even become bumpy and thick, depending on the season and our exposure to fungus or bacteria. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail curves and penetrates the skin. It causes pain, redness, and swelling. No one is immune to ingrown toenails, but adults acquire more than children.
You are likely to develop ingrown if your toenails are too short or not straight. Wear tight socks that squeeze the skin surrounding the nail or too-tight shoes that create pressure on your toe, and if you have sweaty feet that make the skin around your nails soft, it will likely lead to ingrown growth. The worst scenario could be if you stubbed your toe accidentally. If you are one of those few born with fan-shaped nails that grow downward, expect an often bout with ingrown pain.
Ingrown toenails may look simple, but untreated ingrown toenails can get infected, leading to bone infection. If the toe is severely infected, the nerve in the foot or leg will be damaged, which may cause poor blood circulation to the foot or diabetes. When an ingrown toenail doesn’t heal or keeps coming back, your doctor may remove the part of your nail that has skin growing over it (partial nail avulsion) or use a chemical agent or electrical current to remove a growth region. Before a simple pain in the toe becomes a more complicated hospital operation, here are some tips to remedy an annoyingly irritating toenail ingrown.
Helpful Remedies in Treating Ingrown Toenail
1. Giving your feet a good soak in warm soapy water is something you might want to do even if you don’t have an ingrown toenail; this will clean and free the foot from bacteria. It is one of the first steps you should take for treating painful ingrown toenails. The addition of Epsom salt is also beneficial for soothing muscle pain, reducing swelling, and softening skin. This process can be done three or four times a day.
2. People now use apple cider vinegar to treat almost everything, including ingrown toenails. Most people believe apple cider has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties. To try this remedy, mix 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with a basin of warm water. Soak the hurt foot every day for up to 20 minutes. After soaking, dry your footwell.
3. Also, you can soak a cotton swab in unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar and then put it on your nails. Bandage it for several hours. Putting diluted apple cider vinegar on a wound may keep bacteria from getting in, but it may not cure a bacterial infection that is already there. But because it kills bacteria, it can help keep the area clean while it heals. Also, because it is acidic, it works well to keep infections away.
4. Pack the problematic area with dental floss or cotton ball. Mayo Clinic suggests placing cotton or waxed dental floss under an ingrown toenail to stimulate growth. However, some doctors do not always recommend this process. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons says putting cotton beneath your nail might worsen the pain and promote bacteria growth. But, soaking the cotton or floss in alcohol before application may help lessen the risk. Dental floss can remove the nail from the skin to redirect growth. If you try this procedure, a gentle reminder that using unflavored floss with a mint flavor will severely affect the vulnerable part. Soak your foot and insert floss or cotton under the ingrown nail to do this. Try lifting the biting nail corner. Roll a little piece of cotton or gauze to produce a wick, place it between the nail plate, and folds. After every soak, push the roll further in and change the floss or the cotton ball regularly. In some circumstances, you may need to clip the nail.
5. Apply antibiotics to your toe and bandage it. Antibiotic ointment or cream can aid healing and lower infection risk. Apply the ointment to the damaged toenail following the manufacturer’s directions up to three times daily. Be cautious about bandaging the toenail after application. You may also use essential oils to reduce inflammation and pain. It provides natural pain relief for the ingrown toenail and a healthier environment to heal.
6. Pay attention to your choice of footwear, and avoid tight and high heels. If you want your ingrown toenail to heal fast, avoid high heels. They might add pressure to the damaged area, delaying healing and causing pain. Too-tight shoes and socks squeeze the toes, which causes ingrown toenails. Wear shoes and socks that fit but provide space in the toe bed to prevent ingrown toenails.
After reading about ingrown toenail home remedies, hopefully, you can heal them without medication. However, surgery is sometimes necessary if the home cures don’t work in a few days or weeks or if the condition worsens. If you suspect an infected toenail or significant pain, visit a doctor. Some people have substantial issues from ingrown toenails. If you have diabetes, poor circulation, or a damaged immune system and an ingrown toenail, see a doctor.