Ingrown toenails are often just a nuisance, but they can become a more serious problem for some people. The nail growing into the skin is painful and can result in swelling, or in some cases, infection. The best way to treat an ingrown toenail is to avoid getting one in the first place, but even with careful foot maintenance that’s not always possible. Understanding what causes ingrown toenails can reduce your risk of getting them. But if you do, here are some ways you may be able to treat them successfully at home.
Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails
Understanding how to treat ingrown toenails yourself can keep you from needing additional medical treatment. It may also help you be more comfortable while you wait to see your podiatrist. If you’re wondering how to treat ingrown toenail pain, or how to heal an ingrown toenail, consider these options:
- Try a soak in warm, soapy water – A soak is a great way to reduce pain and swelling. You can also add Epsom salts or Castile soap to make things even more comfortable. Soak for 20 minutes, up to three times a day.
- Consider soaking your toe in apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy for nearly everything, but it does appear to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. A quarter of a cup added to a basin of water is the ratio to try, and you can soak your toe for up to 20 minutes, once per day.
- Pack the affected area with either cotton or dental floss – If you can put some cotton or floss under the nail where it’s trying to grow into the skin, it may encourage proper growth. But there are mixed opinions on this and bacteria is a risk. Soak the cotton or floss in alcohol first if you’re trying this method.
- Apply some antibiotic ointment – Antibiotic ointment is rarely a bad choice, and may help reduce the risk of infection. It can also help relieve pain, and can be used up to three times per day. Make sure to bandage the toe after application, to keep the ointment in place.
- Wear comfortable, breathable shoes and socks – If you have socks and shoes that are tight and uncomfortable, they can crowd your toes and lead to ingrown nails. To help heal the ingrown toenail, wear less restrictive shoes, including sandals when you can.
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever – Whether you are trying to treat the start of an ingrown toenail or are in the process of treating a current ingrown toenail, you may want to take an OTC pain reliever. This will help you feel more comfortable.
- Try using a toe protector – Toe protectors offer cushioning for ingrown nails. When looking at how to fix ingrown toenail issues, a protector can be a good option. It can also be a good solution if you’re thinking about how to get rid of ingrown toenail problems and keep them from coming back.
- Consider a toe brace – A toe brace is another consideration when looking for what to do for ingrown toenail discomfort. They’re made to shield your skin from the sharp edge of the nail, and help lift the nail as it grows, so it doesn’t dig into the skin any longer.
When to See a Podiatrist
If home remedies don’t work, or your ingrown toenail keeps coming back, a visit to the podiatrist may be in order. There are several things a podiatrist can do when it comes to how to help an ingrown toenail.
- Lifting the nail – Lifting the nail doesn’t remove it. It’s similar to what a toe brace does, but on a bigger scale. By lifting the nail, the corners are pulled out of the tissue and the nail is allowed to grow out without cutting into the toe itself. Partially removing the nail – wondering how to remove ingrown toenail issues? It often starts with at least partially removing the nail itself.
That can allow the nail to grow back correctly, reducing the chances of future problems.
- Removing the nail and tissue – This is what to do for ingrown toenail issues that are severe. While this can cause initial discomfort, the ability to solve the issue and fully address it can be worth it in the long run.
Need treatment for your ingrown toenails? We can help reduce any discomfort you’re having, and work on getting your toenails to grow the way they should, so you have fewer ingrown toenail issues in the future. Let us work with you, to take good care of your feet and get you feeling good about them again. We’re here to help!
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