An ingrown toenail occurs when the edged curve of one of your toenails grows into the skin instead of over it. Although any of your toenails can become ingrown, the big toe is the most common nail to which this happens. An ingrown toenail can cause pain, tenderness and redness around your toenail, in the toe itself, and on the sides of the nail. You might also notice some swelling of the toe and the tissue around the toenail can even become infected.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
There are a few common reasons that cause ingrown toenails to develop. Wearing ill-fitting shoes, having curved or especially thick nails, injuring your toe, or cutting your toenails too short or at a curved angle rather than straight across can all be culprits in causing ingrown toenails to develop.
Fixing Your Ingrown Toenail
Since an ingrown toenail can be painful and may become infected, it’s important that you try to take care of the issue rather than ignore it. You may be able to fix your ingrown toenail with some simple home remedies. If the following home-based methods don’t alleviate your symptoms, you should consult the professionals at American Foot and Leg Specialists in Atlanta or your local podiatric physician.
1. Add some Castile liquid soap to a basin of warm water and soak your foot for 20 minutes. Do this three times a day. You may want to add Epsom salts to the water to alleviate pain and swelling. In lieu of Castile soap, you can use 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Be sure to dry your foot completely when done with each soaking.
2. Place a few tiny bits of cotton or waxed dental floss beneath the edge of the ingrown toenail to encourage growth in the correction direction.
3. To lessen the risk of infection in the area, apply some over-the-counter, antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin or Bacitracin. Place a bandage over the area after applying ointment.
4. Be sure to wear your most comfortable shoes and socks to keep your ingrown toenail from becoming worse. If the weather permits, it’s best to wear sandals to alleviate any pressure on your toenails.
5. If you are in pain, you may want to take acetaminophen, and if the area is also swollen, ibuprofen may be a better choice. Take these pain relievers as directed by the manufacturer or by your physician.
6. You can purchase a cushion called a toe protector that covers your toe like a cap. Some of these have a medicated gel lining them to make them easier to put on. A toe brace is another option. These are made of a thin adhesive and get glued to the top of your toe to protect your skin from the sharpness of the ingrown nail and lift the edges to encourage proper growth. You can usually find toe braces in a pharmacy or on the internet.
If you continue to experience pain, or the pain intensifies and pus develops, indicating an infection has formed, you will need to seek medical attention. This is especially true if you suffer from diabetes, as an infection of the foot can lead to serious complications.
If you live in the Georgia areas surrounding Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove, or Stockbridge, there is an American Foot and Leg Specialists location near you. The experienced podiatrists at American Foot and Leg Specialists are available to help you with your foot issues from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Contact us at one of our four convenient locations today.
Please note that the information supplied in this article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice.
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