One of the most common conditions in a person’s big toe is the growing of a toenail in the skin’s soft flesh part. This is regularly referred to as ingrown toenails and is usually the cause of one’s discomfort and pain.
This article aims to tackle the importance of knowing the symptoms and causes of ingrown toenails and the ways to treat them and avoid infection. Read this article and spread the news on how to treat ingrown toenails effectively at home and learn the best ways to prevent experiencing such problems.
See Also: Toenails Not Growing: The Causes And The Solution
What is an ingrown toenail?
Being one of the most common forms of nail disease, an ingrown toenail produces a swollen and painful feeling due to the toenail’s part which grew on the corner side of the nail and cuts the paronychium which is commonly known as the nail bed. This is where one can find the tender and most sensitive skin.
There are a lot of theories and attempts to understand this common painful scenario which frequently occurs in the big thumb’s toenail. To put it simply, ingrown toenails are overgrown toe skin.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenail
Knowing the symptoms of an ingrown toenail could save you from pain and discomfort. It will also be a great way to know whether it is already time for you to see your doctor or get some medications for your nails. The following are the known symptoms of ingrown toenail:
When you feel like the sides of your toes are abnormally tender and results in discomfort or pain when moved and pressed.
When the skin surrounding your toe is swelling and starts turning red.
It may be warm to the touch during the initial stage of an ingrown toenail. However, fever is still not an issue here.
Once this has escalated to a more severely infected stage, the swelling and redness worsen, and yellow and white colors are starting to be visible and are surrounded with redness. In this stage, extreme discomfort and pain are already experienced, and the affected individual may have an occasional fever.
Ways To Relieve Ingrown Toenail Pain
We have finally discovered the best and effective ways to ease the pain which ingrown toenails bring and to eventually get rid of it.
Check the following ways and start expanding your understanding of ingrown toenail and their effective medication. You can opt to call your doctor once the symptoms and pains persist.
Soak Your Feet
Immerse your feet for ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes to reduce the swelling and tenderness and do this at least three times a day.
Soaking your feet will not only soften the skin but will also help your feet relax and calm. You can add salt to the water as it has essential elements that aid in the reduction of pain and the spreading of bacteria.
Take Pain Reliever Medications And Apply Antibiotic Cream
Medications that are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, also known as NSAIDs are the best pain relievers which you can get over the counter and will relieve your discomfort and inflammation.
The most common NSAIDs in the market are Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin. For those who are not allowed to take NSAID medications, you can instead choose the acetaminophen pain relievers.
Antibiotic creams are also available in groceries and drug stores. They are the best creams that can fight off bacteria and fungi from getting into the wound and they also have elements that can lessen the pain.
It is always best to follow the instructions of the manufacturer when applying this product.
Bandage Your Toe
Putting a bandage on the part with an ingrown toenail is one way to protect it from being moved, bent, and to be further infected. It is also best to change the bandage every after few hours to ensure cleanliness and avoid bacteria from piling up and spreading.
Give Your Feet Some Breathing Space
Giving your feet a breathing space by wearing open-toe shoes will allow your feet and your affected toes to relax and this will prevent aggravating the ingrown toenail.
Why Do I Have An Ingrown Toenail?
There are several reasons why ingrown toenails happen in a person. The following are the best common causes of ingrown toenails.
Improper footwear size is one of the reasons why one experiences ingrown toenails. Shoes that are too tight force the feet to feel suffocated and entrapped.
This also results in the nail growing abnormally. So, it is always best to choose the best size for your footwear as it will not only affect your feet but your nails too.
Inappropriate Nail Trimming
The best way to trim a nail is to cut it across instead of the usual rounded way of trimming. This improper trimming practice folds the skin over making the nail dig into it and causes pain. The correct cutting angle is critical when trimming the nail as it bends inwards or upwards depending on the angle of its cut.
Aside from trimming with the right angle, it is also best to consider the length of the cut. What you need to remember is that a shorter cut will result in the nail bending more.
Damp Footwear Condition or Not Wiping the Feet Correctly Before Putting on The Shoes
A wet foot in an enclosed shoe softens the nail’s base and eventually leads to an ingrown toenail. The softening of the nail plate causes swelling on the nail’s epidermal keratin, this results in the permanent increase of the curved arch.
Hygiene is one of the basic things that one needs to continuously practice amidst the high technology and medicines that this modern world can offer. Poor hygiene may not only result in ingrown toenails but will most likely worsen such.
Injury and Fungal Infections
Toenails can be traumatized due to a lot of things such as stubbing, hard kicking, or dropping a heavy object on it. These things will result in your nail being injured in a way that will break its shape and will cause it to have an irregular shape.
Nail trauma and injuries can also be the reason for bacterial and fungus infections which will worsen your nail’s condition and will lead to a lot more complications. Infections can soften the tissues and can make the nail push itself deeper into the skin.
Effective Ways In Cutting an Ingrown Toenail
Cutting an ingrown toenail can be very painful but this will be the best to end your pain and agony. Here are the following important things which you need to remember when cutting an ingrown toenail.
1. Soften your toenail and skin by soaking them in warm water for about 20 minutes. You can also add salt or castile soap to free your toes from any bacteria and to reduce swelling and inflammation.
2. After soaking, carefully push back the swollen skin. Make sure that your fingers are clean while doing to avoid any infection.
3. Do not forget to sterilize your tools before cutting the affected area since it is very prone to infection.
4. Always remember to cut across the nail by starting at the edges instead of starting from the middle.
5. Allow the ingrown toenail to grow correctly through the help of a piece of cotton placed between the nail and skin.
6. Apply ointment or any cream that can ease the pain away and help remove the swelling.
7. Protect it with a bandage to avoid infections.
8. While letting your skin and toe recover and heal, wear footwear that allows your feet and toe to breathe.
9. Also, keep in mind to change the cotton at least twice a day to ensure a bacteria-free healing process.
Ways to Prevent Ingrown Toenails
Change The Manner You Cut Your Nail
This is one simple and doable way to prevent ingrown toenails from happening again. Cutting your nails straight across will make it less likely for the nail to grow into the skin and eventually become an ingrown nail.
So, it is about time that you change the way you cut your nails and stop the usual curved or crescent shape.
Take Care of Your Cuticles
Cuticles play a crucial role in protecting your nails. They are the ones in-charge in protecting the tissues and the keratin of your nails. It is vital to know the proper tools in taking care of your cuticles and the habits that affect them.
Nail infections usually start in the cuticles. Thus, proper care and treatment of this sensitive nail part can help you avoid the excruciating pain that this could bring.
Be Mindful of Your Shoe Choices
We have already highlighted the importance of choosing the right size and shape of shoes. Toe infections are more prone especially when the irritated toes become sweaty. So, choose the right size and allow some breathing space for your feet. In addition, selecting the materials that allow your feet to breathe is also important.
Give Your Feet a Rest Day
When you are at home, allow your feet to feel the freedom of wearing flat footwear or be naked once in a while. It is also best to treat for a foot spa or soaking session at least once a week.
Your feet are the most used and most abused part of a human being’s body; it is just right to pamper it and give the proper treatment that it truly deserves.
Treat After Trauma
If only it is possible to just allow our feet to rest the whole day, there won’t be any feet and nail issues we should be worrying about.
However, since it is not possible, allow your feet to relax especially after a rough day of football practice or an exciting big game on the soccer field. Allow it to go barefoot for an hour or two.
VII- Ways in Helping Your Toenails Grow Back Quickly
An infected toenail may take time to heal and grow back. However, there are a lot of ways that you can do to assist it from growing back and grow back healthier. Check these guided steps for you to have your toenail back:
Patience Is Always a Virtue
Yes, as cliché as it may sound but this phrase is also applicable even in your nail issues. Sure you can take supplements and other medications to speed up the re-growing of your nail but what you have to keep in mind is your nail has gone through a lot of trauma and infection and recovering from all of that usually takes time.
So, give your nails time to recover and just allow them to grow at their own pace. Never cut it or disturb it in any way.
Cover The Exposed Skin For More Protection
Exposed skin is more prone to infection and the only way to protect it is by using a bandage or band aid. This way, you are not only protecting your skin but are also providing a more conducive setting for your nail.
Moisturize Your Nail
Moisturizing your nail with either flaxseed oil, coconut oil or olive oil will allow your nail to grow quicker. You can dab the nail with cotton dipped into the oil to provide it with its needed moisture and nutrients.
Soak It In Green Tea And Orange Juice
Green tea is a great soothing and stimulating element for your nail growth. Add 2-3 bags of green tea in warm water where you can comfortably soak your feet for about 15 minutes.
You can do this three to four times a week to fully encourage your nail to grow faster and healthier. Soaking your feet in a fresh orange juice at least once a day is one secret that allows your feet and your nails to direct get the nutrients that it needs.
Biotin Supplements Can Help Too!
Problems with hair and nails are often linked to biotin deficiency. Thus, taking supplements rich in biotin will allow your hair and nails to grow quickly. Gelatin is a natural source of biotin, so you can instead rely on gelatin to add your biotin intake daily.
Use Vinegar To Fight Bacteria
You can add vinegar to warm water where you can soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Vinegar is highly noted by experts to be an effective bacteria fighter and this can protect your exposed skin from being infected once again.
You can always choose to add more water to the solution if you feel that your feet are being irritated by the vinegar solution.
Anti-fungal Spray For Your Feet And Shoes
Apply anti-fungal spray for your feet and shoes to avoid reinfection.
You have to keep in mind that since your nail is in the recovery stage, it is still very sensitive to infection and trauma and the only way to prevent it from happening again is by keeping your feet clean and protected all the time. So, wear synthetic socks and antibacterial powder or spray.
VIII – Important Things to Remember
A simple ingrown toenail can lead to a more serious condition if left unattended and untreated. This is the reason why it is critical to detect the very first symptoms of ingrown toenails as it can lead to serious bone infection.
This can also lead to a lot of complications especially for those who have diabetes which will affect their blood flow and can eventually damage the nerves in their feet.
For those with diabetes and other serious illness, it is best to ask for the assistance and expertise of a doctor or professional nail care to avoid any complications. Taking responsibility and other actions regarding your feet and nail condition may lead to a more serious circumstance.
Ingrown toenails can happen to anyone at any age. This is a condition that usually happens in the big thumb of the feet.
Once again, your feet are the most abused body part and yet it is still one of the most neglected. It is only right for us to know the best way to take care of our nails and to treat them if needed. An ingrown toenail is a wake-up call for all of us and it reminds us that no matter how tiny a part is, it will still affect the entire body and will have a lasting impact if not functioning properly.
This article has provided you the needed information about ingrown toenails, the necessary things to do when you have an ingrown toenail, and ways to treat and prevent them.
This article only hopes that you are now more equipped to take care of your feet and your nails. Let us know your thoughts regarding this topic and help us expand everyone’s knowledge by dropping your comments and suggestions below.