How to Treat Ingrown Toenails 

image001Ingrown toenails are a common painful condition where the corners of toenails push inward the side or end of the toes, causing inflammation. The nails dig in and curl into the skin, later causing extra tissue to grow and drain yellow pus. Simple home remedies and preventive measures are available to get rid of such discomfort. However, in some severe conditions, if not treated properly, ingrown toenails can become infected and form abscesses that may require surgical treatment.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are commonly on the outer edges of the big toes. However, any other toenail may be affected. Swelling, redness, and pain at the ends of the toe are the most common symptoms. Learn about the causes in the first place can help answer: how to treat ingrown toenails.



Improper Footwear

Ingrown toenails may be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, especially on the toes. Women who wear high heel often can also have these, since the toes are pushed against the tip of the shoes and nails are compressed, causing them to dig into the flesh.

Incorrect Trimming

Ingrown toenails can also be caused by improper trimming of the nails, especially when they are cut too short or rounded off at the corners.

Infection and Injury

A fungal infection of the nails can lead to thickening or widening of the toenails, which can become embedded into the skin. Repeated injury or damage to the toenails can also cause nails to grow inward, and this is common among soccer players.

Family History

There is a familial tendency to develop ingrown toenails, so if one has a family member who has the condition, it is likely that it can occur in them, too.

Other  Causes

Other factors, like having naturally rounded nails or upturned toe bones can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

How to Treat Ingrown Toenails

1. Home Remedies

It is easy to treat the early course of ingrown toenails with some home remedies:

  • Use Cotton or Floss. Try lifting the corner of your nail that is growing into the skin. Using a piece of gauze or cotton to make a small wick or roll, elevate the nail from the skin. This may be painful at first, but it is important for home treatment of ingrown toenails. After soaking the foot, try pushing the roll farther in. Change the cotton roll daily for 7 to 15 days until the nail grows out, without digging into skin.
  • Soak Feet. Use warm water to soak feet four times daily. There is no need to use salts, soap, or antibacterial products for the foot soak.
  • Keep Clean. Wash your feet, including affected toes, twice daily with water and soap. Keep them dry and clean every day.
  • Take Medications. Pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are effective for relieving symptoms.

2. Medical Treatments

  • Lift the Nail. If there is no infection, the nail may be lifted, and conservative management consisting of warm foot soaks, frequent cleaning and use of proper shoes may be done. Some doctors may use splints such as cotton wicks, resins, plastic strips or tubes to elevate the nails from the skin.
  • Partially Remove the Nail. A doctor may file or cut the ingrown toenail at the center to change its shape while it grows. The nail may also be made to grow flatter by gluing it to hard plastic.
  • Remove Extra Tissue. It may be necessary for the doctor to remove extra growing tissue around the nail to help it to heal faster.

3. Preventive Measures

  • Trim Toenails Rightly. The best way to prevent having ingrown toenails is to carefully clip the nails. Toenails must be clipped across in a straight manner, keeping the ends longer than the edges of the skin. This will prevent the corners of the nails from growing into your skin. Avoid cutting them in a rounded shape. Avoid cutting them too short.
  • Wear Proper Shoes and Socks. Avoid wearing tight shoes or high heels. Open sandals are recommended until the toes heal. Use only white socks, because dyes used for hosiery might leak into the open skin, causing further complications, such as allergies.
  • Watch Out Where You Walk. Open footwear such as sandals is not suitable for use in all terrains. Avoid wearing them in the city, where there is uneven ground or sidewalks, because bacteria could enter the injured toe. Wear sandals at home and use closed shoes for urban or country excursions. Be careful not to stub your toes, as this can lead to injuries, which cause nails to grow inward.

How to Prevent & Treat Ingrown Toenails: