Ingrown toenails are fairly common and usually affect the big toe. The condition happens when the corner or side of your toenail grows into the soft flesh of the toe resulting in pain, redness and sometimes infection. You can often perform ingrown toenail remedies at home on your own or with the help of a friend.
One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails are shoes and socks that fit to tightly. The damp atmosphere inside of the shoe can cause the skin of the toe around the nail to soften and expand and the toenail may begin to curve slightly making it much easier to begin to grow into the soft skin. The toenail is pushed into the skin every time the tight shoes are worn and over time begins to grow into the skin on the toe. This happens most often on the big toe when the nail pushes out or into the sides of the flesh.
There are many things people can do themselves to avoid or treat this painful problem. Begin by soaking the foot in very warm water for awhile and gently wash the tender area so you can get a good look at what needs to be done before removing any skin or nail. Make sure everything is as sterile as possible; use some gauze with rubbing alcohol on the toe and the tools before and after the procedure. Using a good pair of ingrown toenail clippers should work well for doing this. If the toe is just too tender, try using a topical anesthetic and or ice.
However painful it may be, it will only get worse if not treated. After you get the skin and nail softened up some, you may be able to trim the nail and skin to separate them a bit – if the ingrown toenail clippers alone are not enough to do what needs to be done then you can buy an ingrown toenail kit that will have all the tools you will need to do this. If you still can’t clip the nail or skin away then try to get something between the nail and the toe. Place fresh bits of cotton or waxed dental floss under the nail to help it grow away from the skin and make sure to change this daily.
It will probably hurt and take a week or two to begin to see the toenail growing away from or off of the skin but with these ingrown toenail remedies you can cure yourself or at least stop the condition from getting worse until you can get to a doctor. Go without shoes or where something loose for awhile, the goal is to keep pressure off of the toenail. Remember to keep your feet as clean and dry as possible. Continue to pay close attention to the progress or lack of any; if the pain is getting worse and the infection is not clearing up, call your doctor.
My wife gets ingrown toenails; I have even helped her remove a few of them, but this is what she does to help take care of hers.
My name is Lisa, over the years I have suffered with ingrown toenail clipper. I have never sought medical advice for this but these are a few of the things that have worked for me. For starters I think it’s important to wear the right size shoe. I didn’t know it but we are to have one thumb-width at the end of our toes and switching to wide-width shoes might help too. If the toe box on your shoes is too small your nails can rub against each other and cause irritation.
The next thing that worked for me is to get regular pedicures. You don’t need to go to an expensive spa to do this; I go to the salon right in my local Wall-Mart. I have found one of the ladies to be quite good at extricating the offending cuticle and I will request her every time I go. It’s totally worth the $30 once a month to get your nails done right. Make sure they allow ample time to soak before the person starts working on your nails though or it’ll hurt. When done properly you should at most feel some mild pressure and then sweet release as the ingrown is removed.
One last note, some people may say to clip your nails a certain way but I’ve been told (and found through experience to be true) that clipping them straight across is the best way to keep them under better control. I actually had one person many years ago tell me to notch the nail in the middle so that it looked sort of like a hoof. No thank you. That’s not only weird looking but creates more sharp edges for socks and such to get caught on.
Like I said, the best “cure” I’ve found is getting regular pedicures. And don’t forget, once you find that magical person who can relieve your pain, tip them well!
If after trying these ingrown toenail remedies with no success and the toe has become infected and sore to the point that you cannot do anything with it yourself, then you may have to have part of the nail or possibly even the whole nail removed so the infected area can be cleaned and the infection can be drained. This will normally be done in the doctor’s office or in the emergency room.
If the doctor decides that surgery is needed, the extent of the ingrown toenail surgery will depend upon on how bad the infection is and if it has been a recurring problem or not. If it has been 5 years or more since you last had a tetanus shot you will have to have another one because of the open wound. The doctor will inject an anesthetic into the toe to numb it before draining the pus and removing skin that has grown around the end of the toenail.
If this is a recurring problem, the doctor may want to kill some of the skin cells to keep them from growing back by using chemicals, extreme cold or lasers. Another treatment performed for recurring ingrown toenails is called a lateral matriectomy; a specialist will remove some of the tissue under the nail (nail bed) to keep the nail from growing back into it. Draining the abscess will take care of the infection so antibiotics are normally not needed, then the toe is covered with ointment and gauze or a bandage.
You should keep this dressing on for 2 days then remove it and wash with soap and water. Put triple antibiotic salve (from the drug store) on the toe and cover it again with gauze or a bandage, this should be done twice a day until the toe is healed. Along with taking any pain medication the doctor may have prescribed you may also want to keep your foot propped up to help reduce the pain. You can also try wearing open- toed shoes or sandals for awhile.