For most people, ingrown toenails don’t bother them much until it gets really painful and bothersome.
This is a condition where a thick, sharp nail cuts through the tender skin at the corner of the nail.
The affected area can get reddish, painful, and sometimes become more vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.
Some people just have their toenails grow in ways that elevate this problem. While in others the problem can start peeking up due to some contributing factors such as tight shoes or socks, bad maintenance of toenails, and others.
Ingrown toenails are also a very common problem in people with conditions such as bunions or hammertoes.
If this problem is bothering you a lot recently, I have good news for you. As bothersome as it may appear, it is one of the most preventable conditions and can be managed easily with the right care.
Hot water soak
If you find your toenails painful and infected, then hot water soak each day should do the trick to reduce the pain and swelling in the area.
To around two gallons of hot water in a bucket, add several spoons of salt and stir well till the salts are completely dissolved.
Soak your feet into this hot water for around 15 to 20 minutes every day.
Hot water will help to soften the skin tissues around ingrown nail and salt will keep the affected area free from infection-causing microbes.
After you have soaked your feet in hot water, you can try this cotton-picking method to manage the problem better.
After the hot water soak, try to pat dry your feet thoroughly using a clean towel.
Smear some antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to a small cotton ball, and roll it into a thin tube.
Make sure the cotton tube is thin enough to get in-between your toenail and soft skin it cuts into.
Using a sterilized toothpick, gently push the cotton underneath the edge of your toenail. This will make sure the toenail doesn’t cut into the skin and reduce the pain.
If you find the cotton is adding too much pressure, try it again with a smaller cotton ball.
Maintain a clean feet
While it is really hard to keep your feet completely germ free, it is better to keep it as clean as possible.
Try to wear a clean pair of socks each day, do not wear the same socks the next day.
Smear in some antibiotic ointment to the affected or vulnerable area every day after a bath or shower.
Avoid Tight Shoes
Tight shoes can inherit more pressure to your toenails which can make your problem worse.
If you can avoid shoes to your workplace and swap it with a nice pair of sandals that are pair at the end, then prefer those. Else, try to find a pair of shoes that goes easy on your toenails.
Never wrap a bandage or gauze cloth around the toenails thinking that it will reduce your suffering. In fact, it will exert more pressure on the affected area and jam the nails deeper into the soft skin.
Ways to prevent
- Always soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes before cutting your nails. This will soften the nail.
- While cutting the nails, always cut them straight across so that you leave a little extra nail on each side.
- File the nail corners gently so that it is not very sharp on the edges.
- Do not pick your toenails with your hands. You will tear off the corners which can later grow into your toe.