Ingrown Toenails: At-Home Treatment Tips

Is your big toe throbbing in pain? Is the skin on either side of the nail red and tender? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, chances are you have an ingrown toenail.

An ingrown toenail commonly occurs on the big toe and can result in severe pain and swelling when the edges or corners of the nail grow into the surrounding skin.

Ingrown toenails are often caused by cutting the toenail too short, cutting the edges of the nail or not cutting the toenail straight across. There is a common misconception that if you cut the edges of the nail so that they are rounded instead of straight across, it will prevent an ingrown nail from occurring. But by doing this, it can cause the skin around the nailbed to fold over the nail and cause the nail to cut into the skin.

In addition, injuries sustained to the big toe, like stubbing your toe or dropping something on it, can lead to ingrown toenails. An unusual curvature of the toenail, poor hygiene, excessive sweating, and your posture are also all known to lead to ingrown toenails.

If you have an ingrown toenail you need to treat it as soon as you notice the symptoms, especially if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or nerve damage in the leg or foot. Failure to treat the condition can result in an infection.

The good news: you can treat your ingrown toenail at home unless it becomes painful or you experience reoccurring ingrown toenails, then you should see your podiatrist.

At-Home Treatment: 

  1. Soak your foot in warm water three to four times a day. While soaking, gently push the skin away from the toenail.
  2. Choose shoes with plenty of room. Tight and restricting shoes can worsen the problem.
  3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help alleviate the pain associated with the ingrown toenail.

If the at-home treatments do not help the condition, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist.

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