Ingrown toenails can be incredibly painful. You know when you have one because suddenly you are acutely aware of your toe, whereas normally it barely registers on your radar!
Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe, and both men and women can suffer from them. They occur when the corner of your toenail curves and starts to grow in the skins surrounding it, causing significant pain, swelling and redness.
There are many things that can trigger an ingrown toenail. Some of the most common causes include:
The incorrect cutting of a toenail, either too short or at an angle
Wearing shoes that are incorrectly fitted and are too tight
Trauma to the toenail, such as having it stepped on or stubbing it on furniture
They are relatively easy to treat, but it is important to do it as soon as you notice. If left, they can become infected, which can even need surgical intervention. Here we look at some of the ways that you can treat an ingrown toenail.
Soaking the injured foot might help relieve discomfort and minimize swelling. You can soak your foot in warm, soapy water for up to 20 minutes three times a day. Castile soap is an excellent choice for pain relief, as is adding Epsom salts.
Antibiotic ointment or cream purchased over-the-counter can aid in healing and reduce the risk of the ingrown toenail getting infected. Apply the cream to the infected toenail as directed by the manufacturer, usually three times a day.
Apple cider vinegar is believed to have a significant number of health benefits and helping with the healing of an ingrown toenail is just one of them. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, both of which will help an ingrown toenail and also is said to help with the pain. There is no clear evidence to support this, but it certainly will not hurt to try. Mix a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar in a basin of water and soak for up to 20 minutes every day. Dry off carefully afterwards.
Overly tight shoes and socks might crush your toes. This is thought to be one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails. Wear shoes and socks that fit well but give enough room in the toe bed to help prevent an ingrown toenail from growing or deteriorating. To relieve pressure on your toenails throughout the healing process, avoid wearing shoes or wear open sandals as much as possible.
If the above steps do not appear to be working or your ingrown toenail is showing signs of infection, make an appointment with a foot specialist. They will not, as a rule of thumb, give you oral antibiotics for an ingrown toenail with no infection, but they will if it is infected.