How Do Ingrown Toenails Come About
When a nail grows curved and penetrates the adjacent skin of the finger, causing inflammation, then we are talking about ingrown toenails . This condition should be treated right away, as soon as it is recognized. But, in any case, you shouldnt worry too much: the problem can be treated and solved without too many complications, as you will see.
This is possible if the ingrown toenail shows no signs of infection and no swelling, heat to the touch, excessive bleeding, or bad odor. Infection occurs when the nail penetrates deep into the skin, ensuring permanent access to germs.
In a normal situation, you may decide to let the nail grow. It is also a good idea to soak your feet in warm salt water, then dry them well with a clean towel and apply an antiseptic solution.
However, if you are unsure whether you can tackle ingrown toenail treatment on your own at home, you can certainly go to a podiatrist. This specialist will perform the correct procedure, using a local anesthetic. He will take care of cutting or removing the infected nail with a minor surgical procedure.
Ingrown Toenail Medical Treatment
Your doctor will look at your toe to see if itâs ingrown. They may:
- Lift the nail. The doctor might lift the ingrown nail and put a splint under it to relieve some pressure. When you get home, youâll remove the splint, soak the nail, and put the splint back.
- Cut away part of the nail. If the doctor has to do this, theyâll numb your toe with a shot first.
- Remove the whole nail and some tissue. If your ingrown nail keeps coming back, this might be an option. The doctor will numb your toe first with a shot. They might remove the section thatâs ingrown or your whole toenail. They may have to destroy the nail bed underneath the area so the nail doesnât regrow or grows back thinner.
Your doctor might also suggest:
- Antibiotics. You might need to take antibiotics in the form of a pill or as an ointment to put on your toe.
- More comfortable shoes. If your shoes put too much pressure on your toes, you could get an ingrown toenail. Make sure you wear wide shoes that fit you and give your toes lots of space to move around.
- A toe brace. This is a plastic or metal brace that goes over your toenail to relieve pain and pressure.
What Is An Ingrown Toenail Infection
Ingrown toenails occur when the corner tip / edge of your nail pierces into your skin and grows back into it. This condition has the potential to be very painful, and it can happen to pretty much anyone. Ingrown toenails are very common in big toes.
If left untreated, your simple ingrown toenail could turn into an ingrown toenail infection. This can be dangerous as the infection can sometimes spread to your foots underlying bone structure.
Keep in mind that if you suffer from diabetes, or other conditions that affect circulation, youre at high risk for developing ingrown toenails. You can also have serious complications if it turns into an ingrown toenail infection. Check in with a podiatrist before it gets to that stage.
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Can Ingrown Toenails Be Prevented
To help prevent an ingrown toenail:
- wear shoes that fit properly
- keep your feet clean and dry
- trim your nails properly briefly soak your foot in warm water before trimming, and make sure you cut straight across, without tapering or rounding the corners or cutting them too short
People with diabetes or persistent foot problems should see a podiatrist regularly for routine foot checks and nail care.
Take Help From Camphor
Camphor is another home remedy, which can be used to cure ingrown toenail. It helps to relieve pain, itching and helps to eliminate fungal infections around the toenail. In a small bowl mix camphor and coconut oil or cinnamon oil. Apply the mixture on the infected toe. Leave it for a night. Rinse it the following day. Repeat this remedy for a week.
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How To Get Rid Of Nail Infections
Now that weve discussed proper foot care and hygiene, we can move on to one of the most frequently asked questions, How to get rid of nail infections. If you find yourself suffering from a nail infection, there are a few topical at-home remedies you can resort to. Its always best to see a podiatrist, however, because when you dont treat a nail infection, things can go south. Topical home remedies can give you instant relief and help treat your nail infection, but will often not fully cure it.
At-Home Remedies On How To Get Rid Of A Nail Infection:
These are a few of the most popular at-home remedies. If your nail infection persists, it is advisable to see a foot specialist to avoid any further damage and spread. Please see a podiatrist if the symptoms of your nail infection get worse or do not leave.
Treatment From A Foot Specialist
A foot specialist may offer further treatments, such as:
- cutting away part of the nail
- removing the whole nail
You’ll have an injection of local anaesthetic to numb your toe when this is done.
Referral to a podiatrist on the NHS may not be available to everyone and waiting times can be long. You can pay to see a podiatrist privately.
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Medical Treatment Of Ingrown Toenails
Once your ingrown toenail has progressed past the first stage, you may need to seek medical help. There are various surgical treatments of ingrown toenails your podiatrist may recommend. All of these are standard, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons .
Wedge Resection: This involves the partial removal of the nail or a portion of it, after numbing your toe with a local anesthetic and draining any ingrown toenail infection. Your doctor can perform this procedure in the office and the recovery time is anywhere between two weeks to two months, depending on the size of the nail portion removed.
Matrixectomy: The matrixectomy procedure is also referred to as permanent or full nail avulsion. Unlike typical avulsions, which arent often practiced anymore , a matrixectomy happens when the physician removes the entire nail from your nail bed and then covers the nail matrix with a chemical that stops it from ever growing back.
Vandenbos Procedure: The Vandenbos procedure has been around since the late 1950s and involves removal of the skin directly underneath and on either side of the ingrown toenail. Recovery is longer with this procedure, but this is also the only procedure in which a doctor does not need to prescribe antibiotics for prevention of infections. It also seems to be the procedure most likely to prevent recurrences of ingrown nails.
What Can A Doctor Do For An Ingrown Toenail
Your doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or podiatrist can treat an ingrown nail with a minor procedure, or in certain cases with surgery.
This typically involves numbing the toe or foot with an injection. The skin on top of the ingrown nail may be removed with a scalpel.
The ingrown nail section is then partly or completely removed. You will not feel any pain during the procedure expect for the injection.
If you have ingrown nails often, your surgery may include use of a laser or chemical procedure to remove a part of the nail bed permanently so that it no longer grows as wide.
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Helping The Toenail Heal
How Can I Treat My Painful Nail
When an ingrown toenail is mildly inflamed , soaking the foot in warm water and placing a piece of dry cotton under the corner of the nail may be all that is needed. If the ingrown toenail gets worse, the inflammation may increase. An antibiotic ointment can be tried at this stage. After you see your doctor for the problem, he or she may try oral antibiotics. Surgical removal of part of the nail is often needed if the problem becomes worse.
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Ingrown Toenail Remedies You Can Do At Home
Ingrown toenails that are not showing signs of infection can be treated at home. There are ingrown toenail remedies for mild cases that only need simple treatment.
Health care professionals do not recommend treating an infected ingrown toenail. Never attempt to lift your ingrown toenail with cotton or dental floss. This could only introduce bacteria into the affected area.
You should see your foot and ankle doctor if:
- home remedies do not work for you
- you have poor circulation or
- you have diabetes
- partially removing the nail and
- removing the nail and tissue
Can Ingrown Nails Be Prevented
Proper trimming of the nails is the best way to prevent an ingrown nail. Nails should be cut straight across, with the corners of the nail protruding from the end of the toe. Children or teenagers who play with their toes in bed at night can wear socks to bed to keep them from peeling or picking at their toenails.
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What Is An Ingrown Fingernail
Your nails and skin are made of a protein called keratin. Nails are formed when dense layers of keratinized cells push to the surface of your finger. Ridges on your nails correspond to skin ridges underneath your nails. These help hold your nails in place.
When the shape of your nail changes, the ridges that hold your nail in place can lose their connection. This can cause the nail to grow into the sides or corners of your skin. This is known as an ingrown nail. A number of things can cause this, including:
- growth thats too fast or too slow
- improper trimming, such as leaving a nail spike on the end
Using Home Treatments For Ingrown Fingernails
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How To Cut An Ingrown Toenail
Cutting an ingrown toenail can be difficult, which is why I recommend that youre very careful and have some help if you choose to do it at home. Heres a step-by-step guide:
Homemade Ingrown Toenail Ointment Recipe
You can make your very own ointment to help heal an ingrown toenail. Essential oils can help relieve pain and prevent infection. By putting this ointment directly on your toe, you can find some much-needed relief and and faster healing.
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- 1 drop oregano oil
Using Cotton Or Gauze
If soaking alone does not bring relief within a day or two, a person can try gently encouraging the nail to grow upward with cotton or gauze.
After soaking, take a tiny piece of clean gauze or cotton and insert it under the nail. This can help relieve pressure and pain, separating the nail from the skin slightly.
Replace the cotton at least once per day until the nail has grown out and healed.
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Ingrown Toenail Home Remedies
Most ingrown nail problems can be prevented with proper grooming of the toes and by wearing better-fitting shoes.
In fact, if you have an ingrown toenail, chances are you can treat it at home, too. Here are some home remedies to try:
- Soak your feet in warm water. Leave them in there for about 15-20 minutes. You can do this three or four times a day. Itâll make your toe feel less tender and can help with swelling.
- Put dental floss or a cotton swab under your toenail. Once youâre done soaking your feet, put floss or cotton under the ingrown part of the nail. This will encourage it to grow above the skin.
- Put on some antibiotic cream. Apply some antibiotic to your toe and wrap it up in a bandage.
- Pay attention to your shoes. Think about what kind of shoes youâre wearing. If you can, stick with sandals, flip-flops, or other open-toed shoes until your toe heals.
- Take pain medications. Over-the-counter options like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium can ease the pain.
If these home remedies donât help with your ingrown toenail or youâre worried about it, itâs time to see a doctor. If you notice signs of an infection, like fever or red streaks on your skin leading away from the nail area, let your doctor know. They can prescribe an antibiotic.
If you have diabetes, thereâs a higher chance an infected nail wonât heal properly.
Cutting an ingrown toenail
How To Remove Infection From An Ingrown Toenail
This article was co-authored by . Dr. Mark Co is a Podiatrist who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, California. Dr. Co specializes in treatments for bunions, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, warts, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. He also offers custom orthotics for the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle issues. Dr. Co completed a Master of Business Administration at New York University and an MA in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Co also completed his DPM at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and a residency and internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Co was awarded San Francisco’s “Top 3 Podiatrists” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Co is also a member of the CPMA .wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 21 testimonials and 89% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,904,383 times.
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