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Ingrown toenails are a common but painful condition. When a toenail becomes ingrown, the sides of the nail grow down into the skin of the toe, which can cause the area to become red, swollen, and inflamed. The medical term for this condition is onychocryptosis.
If you develop an ingrown toenail, you may be tempted to try to dig the nail out of the skin yourself in order to relieve the pressure and pain that you are experiencing. Don’t do it! You can end up with an infection, and it can be quite a painful process. Instead, follow these steps below for treating an ingrown toenail.
First, check to see whether the toenail appears to be infected. If there is discharge coming from the ingrown toenail, you should see a doctor right away, as this is a sign that an infection has developed.
Soak the affected foot in warm water. Soak the foot for about 15-20 minutes at a time, and repeat this three to four times per day. This will clean the skin, draw out infection, and soften the nail bed.
Wet cotton. Use a wet cotton swab to press the edge of the skin away from the ingrown toenail. Proceed gently; this will probably be uncomfortable, but it will help with the healing process.
Dental floss. Try to separate the toenail from the inflamed skin by running a piece of dental floss between the nail and the skin. Do this immediately after soaking the foot, as the skin and nail will be more pliable at this time.
Use antibiotic ointment. After soaking the foot, apply antibiotic ointment to the area of the ingrown toenail. This will help to prevent infection. Alternatively, you can also apply tea tree oil to the area, which has antiseptic properties.
You can wrap the toe in a bandage to protect the toe and keep the ointment from smearing, but be sure to wrap it loosely. You don’t want to add any extra pressure to the ingrown toenail.
Chili powder can help to draw out infection. Mix a tiny bit of chili powder with water, and apply the mixture to the inflamed area using a cotton swab. Loosely wrap the toe with a bandage, and let the chili powder soak into the ingrown toenail for about an hour. Then remove the bandage and soak the foot in warm water.
Use medicine – as advised by your doctor. You may be advised to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Wear comfortable, roomy shoes. Avoid shoes that cramp the toes or cause pressure. Instead, choose supportive shoes that have a spacious toe box. This is particularly important when you have an ingrown toenail, but it is also a good rule to follow all the time in order to prevent ingrown toenails.
When you are choosing shoes, be sure to select a pair that has enough space in the toes that you can wiggle your toes and curl them under. If you frequently develop ingrown toenails, it may be a sign that your shoes do not fit properly.
Trim your toenails. You can help to prevent ingrown toenails by trimming your toenails properly. Always trim the nail straight across; do not round the edges of the nail.
Visit a doctor. If these steps do not relieve the ingrown toenail or if an infection begins to develop, you should visit your doctor for treatment.
If you suffer from ingrown toenails, visit Foot Solutions UK. We can help you find shoes that fit you properly and give your toes plenty of wiggle room so that you don’t get an ingrown toenail again.