Ingrown toenails are those wherein the nail begins to grow into the skin, as opposed to over it. While it usually occurs in the big toe, it can affect any nail. Mostly, it is adults with long and curved nails who are prone to ingrowth. If left untreated, it can cause pain, infection, inflammation and pus-collection. We recommend treating ingrown toenails with urgency to prevent further discomfort and complications.
Foot soaks are highly recommended for those prone to ingrown toenails. Soaks soften the surrounding skin and tissue and promotes normal growth. One can use a white vinegar and water soak with ratio 1:4 or 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in one quart of water. Soaking your feet in these solutions once a day can help in healing and preventing infection. Otherwise, you should keep your feet dry and away from any moisture.
Some people suffer terrible pain and inflammation on account of ingrown toenails. Their discomfort increase when they wear closed-toe shoes for long periods of time. One may take over-the-counter medication to relieve the ache and swelling. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are sometimes used, though if one is consuming other drugs as well, checking for contraindications is recommended.
Peeling away the covering skin, though dangerous, may allow for normal growth of nails. If this is being done at home, one should undertake procedure after a foot soak – that helps loosen the skin. Then, tweezers or a nail file should be used to remove the covering skin. Take care to prevent as little damage as possible to surrounding skin. A doctor can recommend this to prevent an infection and will numb the affected toe.
If one’s toenail is not embedded in the skin, its growth may corrected using cotton padding. To do this, you can wedge a small piece of cotton between the nail and the skin, thus elevating it from the nail bed. It is noteworthy that this may be helpful only in the initial phase of the abnormal nail’s ingrowth. One may soak the cotton in water or antiseptic liquid before wedging it in.
You can also use bandages to reduce discomfort and damage from accidental stabbing. Bandages should be applied when the nail area is devoid of moisture to prevent infection. Waterproof varieties are helpful for those who tend to get their feet wet often.
If one’s ingrown toenail gets infected, it is likely to become painful, tender and inflamed. Applying an antibiotic ointment on the affected area may help reduce infection. Make sure the ointment absorbs well as moist toenails may become infected.
People with an ingrown toenail should be very careful in choosing their footwear. One should wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes that do not touch the affected nail. This protects it from outward harm, without putting pressure upon it. Though open shoes are ok, the chances of accidental aggravation are high.
Sometimes, doctors recommend cutting the ingrown nail down the middle, followed by filing. A doctor will glue hard plastic to the skin to promote the growth of nail over it, and not into the skin. This only happens in cases where an individual is prone to developing this condition. However, it is recommended that only a professional should perform such a procedure.
In rare cases where the toe becomes infected or very uncomfortable, a surgical procedure may be necessary. Such removal uses local anesthesia, followed by one of several techniques for preventing recurrence. Much attention and care needs be taken, post such a procedure to prevent complications such as contamination.
It is important for people with in-growth toenails to be cautious of further damage. Avoiding activities that strain the front of the foot, keeping it safe from accidental harm and following the advice of a doctor are all important.
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