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Ingrown toenails are a common foot injury that, if left untreated, can lead to infection and even amputation.
You know how painful an ingrown toenail can be if you’ve ever had one. Not only that, but it’s inconvenient: we utilize our toes in some manner as part of our everyday routines, and this usage, as well as continuous banging, appears to irritate the nail even more. It intensifies the agony and makes it appear as though it would never end!
Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, may affect anybody at any age and is one of the most prevalent toenail issues. It’s a painful disease that may quickly get infected if not treated properly. While further research is needed, a few studies have shown a slightly more excellent male-to-female ratio, especially in the 14–25 age range; nevertheless, it may impact individuals of any age.
An ingrown toenail may occur for a variety of causes, including:
- the nail-cutting method that isn’t up to par
- footwear with a snug fit
- anatomical variables such as nail plate thickening
- a toenail with a pincer form
- Hallux valgus or more minor toe abnormalities induce pressure from abutting digits.
- a subungual exostosis is present
- Isotretinoin has been used to treat severe acne on occasion.
Toenail fungus may also be a component of the issue, which is often overlooked. Nail fungus usually develops when fungus penetrates the nail via a minor trauma, such as a cut or break. Nail fungus is not caused by inadequate cleanliness, contrary to popular belief. If you have an ingrown toenail, though, you must be careful to keep the area clean.
Fortunately, there are several natural methods to treat an ingrown toenail without seeing a doctor. But, first, let’s look at some additional information about ingrown toenails and how to treat them.
How to Get Rid of a Toenail Ingrown
What is an ingrown toenail, and how does one get one? The corner or side of a toenail develops into soft skin, which is a frequent problem. Ingrown toenails are believed to be caused by various anatomic and behavioral variables, including incorrect trimming, repeated or unintentional damage, hereditary susceptibility, hyperhidrosis, and poor foot care.
There are three stages of ingrown toenails: mild (stage 1), moderate (stage 2), and severe (stage 3). Swelling of the nail folds, erythema, edema, and discomfort with pressure define mild instances. Increased edema, drainage, infection, and ulceration of the nail fold are all symptoms of moderate cases. Chronic inflammation and granulation and significant nail-fold enlargement are seen in the most severe instances of ingrown toenails.
The end consequence is discomfort, redness, swelling, and, in rare cases, infection. Ingrown nails most often affect the big toe, although they may also affect other toes. Ingrown toenails are usually self-treatable. However, if the pain is severe or spreading, you should see your doctor to alleviate your discomfort and prevent future problems.
To comprehend how this disease occurs, you must first realize that the toenail is made up of many components, including:
- the plate of nails (which is the part you can see)
- the bed of nails (the skin the nail plate protects)
- the skin’s cuticle (the skin that rims the base of the nail)
- the wrinkles in the pin (the three-sided frame of the nail)
- lunula lunula lunula lunul (that half-moon, whitish part at the bottom of the nail)
- the matrix of the pins (the hidden nail portion underneath the cuticle)
Is it possible to tell if you have an ingrown toenail? If you have any of the following symptoms, you are most likely suffering from it:
- Tenderness and pain in the toe on one or both sides of the nail
- Your toenail has a red ring around it.
- Your toe swells around the nail.
- Toenail infection in the creases of the nail
The good news is that an ingrown toenail may be treated naturally. Though many people resort to surgery if their nail is in stages 2 or 3, this is seldom required if the pin is in stage 1, mainly if the problem is addressed as soon as you detect it. Here’s how to do it:
1. Soak or wash the foot
Soaking the foot in warm, soapy water may be beneficial in keeping the region clean and bacteria-free. Three to four times a day, soak the foot in warm water. To soften the skin of the afflicted area, add Epsom salt to the water, which may make it easier to pull the toenail from the skin.
2. Use Castile Soap to clean.
If soaking doesn’t fit into your schedule, try cleaning your foot and problematic nail with soap and water twice a day. Castile soap is a good option because of its natural and pure components. Make sure your foot is clean and dry.
3. Wash with apple cider vinegar
An ingrown toenail may be treated naturally with apple cider vinegar. You may soak your feet in a quarter cup of vinegar in warm water or use apple cider vinegar that has been diluted with filtered water directly to the ingrown nails to prevent germs from forming.
While applying diluted apple cider vinegar to a wound may help prevent infection, it may not be enough to treat a bacterial infection that has already developed. It does, however, have antibacterial properties that may aid in keeping the region clean while it heals.
4. Flossing Under the Nail with Dental Floss
Placing cotton wisps or dental floss beneath the ingrown nail border may help the nail grow in the proper direction rather than down into the ski next, lift next, lift the corner of the nail digging into the flesh up. To make a tiny roll or wick, roll a small piece of cotton or gauze between your fingers. It should be positioned between the nail plate and the folds of the nail.
Use dental floss for a softer approach, but make sure it’s not flavored since this may create a burning feeling. The goal is to elevate the nail long enough to grow out and away from the skin. This is unsettling, yet it works.
Another helpful tip is to attempt to press the roll a bit farther in after each soaking. Ensure that the rollout is changed every day. Be patient as the nail may take one to two weeks to grow out. You may need to gently clip the nail to reach beneath it in certain instances. I’ve provided step-by-step instructions for cutting the pin below.
5. Stay away from high heels and tight shoes.
Although many ladies love the appearance of high heels, you should avoid them if you want your ingrown toenail to heal fast. They may put additional pressure on the afflicted region, leading to a significant delay in healing and discomfort. In addition, any tight-fitting shoe may cause this issue. Sandals may be beneficial because they enable the nail to recover appropriately.
6. Use Essential Oils to Help Relieve Pain and Inflammation
Combine melaleuca (tea tree oil), Cyprus, clove, lavender, and rosemary with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, to make your essential oil mix. Blend well before carefully massaging the afflicted region. You may avoid using synthetic medicines. In addition, you may prevent using synthetic drugs by providing natural pain relief for the ingrown toenail and eventually creating a better environment for the area to recover. Below is a recipe for ingrown toenail treatment made with essential oils that may help you.
How to Cut a Toenail
Cutting an ingrown toenail may be challenging, which is why, if you want to do it at home, I suggest being cautious and enlisting assistance. Here’s how to do it step by step:
- To soften the toenail and skin and decrease swelling, bathe your feet in warm water combined with Epsom salt or Castile soap for approximately 20 minutes.
- Next, gently push the bulging skin away from the nail border using clean fingertips. This will almost certainly be unpleasant. Don’t push it back any farther than the bulging skin will allow.
- Now you must cut the nail right down the middle. Start with the toenail’s edges, missing from the sides rather than the center.
- Between the ingrown nail and the epidermis, place a tiny piece of cotton. This prevents the ingrown toenail from returning and allows it to grow normally.
- Apply the ointment from the recipe below to the afflicted area and gently bandage it.
- Avoid wearing socks and shoes at home to aid healing and prevent further in-growing; instead, wear flip-flops or a shoe that enables air to flow while avoiding dirt.
- It’s critical to change the cotta daily, if not twice-dais to avoid infection.
Ingrown Toenail Ointment
To help cure an ingrown toenail, you may create your ointment. Although essential oils may assist with pain relief and infection prevention, you may get some much-needed comfort and quicker healing by applying this ointment straight to your toe.
- In a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients (own ointment)
- Stir with a small spoon until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Apply the cream to the toe after thoroughly cleaning and rinsing it.
- If feasible, wear flip-flops to allow it to air dry. If not, bandage the toe gently and loosely, but wear loose-fitting shoes.
- Two to three times each day, redress the region. When using oregano oil, be sure to wash your hands afterward and stay away from your eyes. Oregano is a natural antibiotic, although it has a high potency and may cause a burning feeling; therefore, it’s critical to utilize these oils precisely as directed, using a carrier oil like coconut oil vA variety of factors may cause an ingrown toenail following are some of the most frequent reasons of an ingrown toenail:
- First, wearing shoes that crowd the toenails, such as heels or other excessively tight shoes (according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), is the leading cause of ingrown toenails).
- Too short toenails or toenails that aren’t straight across
- A toenail injury is a common occurrence.
- Having abnormally curved toenails
- Deformities of the toes
- Exostosis of the subungual region (an outgrowth of bone from the tip of the toe)
- Isotretinoin is a drug that is used to treat severe acne.
Ingrown nails are caused by various risk factors, including anatomic and behavioral processes. For example, some experts say wider nail folds and thinner, flatter nats may increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails. However, there was no change in the anatomic form of toenails in individuals with and without ingrown toenails, according to a case-control study of 46 patients.
Other ingrown toenail reasons include repetitive trauma, such as running or kicking, or accidental damage, such as stubbing. Despite the lack of scientific proof, ingrown toenails are caused by a genetic susceptibility and family history of hyperhidrosis and poor foot cleanliness. In addition, diabetes, obesity, thyroid, cardiac, and renal diseases are all known to raise the risk of lower extremity edema.
Feet perspire more often throughout adolescence, leading the skin and nails to become fragile and susceptible to split. This results in nail spicules (nail’s sharp tips) that may penetrate the lateral skin. Spicule development may become a persistent issue in older adults due to their decreased capacity to care for their nails as a result of limited mobility or poor eyesight. Furthermore, as people age, their toenails expand, making them more difficult to trim and more likely to push on the lateral skin at the sides of the nail plate, resulting in ingrown, painful, and infected toenails.
Regrowth rates following therapy ranged from 34% to 50%, according to a 2005 Cochrane Review. Vandenbos and Bowers observed in 1959 that individuals with this nail condition had an abnormal quantity of tissue on the sides of the afflicted nail. They hypothesized that weight-bearing caused the tissue to expand over the edges of the nail, allowing the toenail to grow into the skin.
In terms of how an ingrown fingernail occurs, I’d want to point out that it’s comparable. Ingrown fingernails are most often caused by incorrect nail cutting, an accident, or even nail-biting. And, similar to the toenail, the natural form or thickness of the nail may make it more prone to ingrowth.
It may be highly irritating to painfully painful, depending on the reason and whether it’s an ingrown toenail or ingrown fingernail. It may also get infected if left untreated.
Ingrown Toenail Medical Treatment
You may need to seek medical assistance if your ingrown toenail has gone beyond the initial stage. Your podiatrist may suggest one of many surgical treatments for ingrown toenails. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, all of these are routine (AAOS).
After numbing your toe with a topical anesthetic and emptying any ingrown toenail infection, a wedge resection includes the partial removal of the nail or a piece of it. This treatment may be done in the office by your doctor, and the recuperation period varies from two weeks to two months, depending on the amount of the nail part removed.
Matrixectomy (permanent or complete nail avulsion): The matrixectomy technique is also known as permanent or total nail avulsion. A matrixectomy differs from traditional avulsions in that the physician removes the whole nail from your nail bed and then covers the nail matrix (the tissue underneath your nail) with a chemical that prevents it from growing back.
The Vandenbos technique, available since the late 1950s, entails removing the skin immediately under and on either side of the ingrown toenail. This treatment takes longer to recover from, but it is also the only one that does not need a doctor to prescribe medicines for infection prevention. It also seems to be the treatment that is most likely to avoid ingrown nail recurrence.
Ingrown Toenails: Risks, Complications, and What You Should Know
It’s also worth noting that if you have diabetes or another disease that causes poor blood flow to your feet, you’re more likely to have ingrown toenail problems. This is just one more incentive to take care of your diabetes if left untreated or undiagnosed ingrown toenails d may infect the underlying bone and cause a severe infection. If you have diabetes, which may cause poor blood flow and nerve damage in your feet, complications can be particularly severe. A small foot injury, such as a cut, scrape, corn, callus, or ingrown toenail, may thus fail to heal correctly and get infected. A difficult-to-heal open sore (foot ulcer) may need surgery (gangrene to avoid tissue degradation and death). In addition, a stoppage in blood flow to a part of your body causes infection.
Other Diseases that Affect the Toes
While ingrown toenails are the most prevalent foot illness, there are a number of other foot disorders that may cause nail problems that must be checked out before ingrown toenails can be diagnosed.
Lichen planus, often known as “LP,” is a kind of dermatitis that produces skin sores on the feet (and sometimes other body regions). As a result, toenails are impacted in approximately 10% of instances, making ridging and grooving, splitting, nail weakening, and ultimately nail loss.
Alopecia Areata: While most people associate alopecia with hair loss, the disease’s effect on nails is often the first symptom. Offending nails get pitted or split due to this illness, resulting in a rough look and white patches.
Onychomycosis is a fungus that infects the fingernails or toenails and may affect any portion of the nail (matrix, bed, or plate). Onychomycosis may cause pain, discomfort, and even deformity, and as the illness progresses, it can make it difficult to stand, move, or exercise. In addition, onychomycosis-related foot problems are often responsible for social and professional restrictions in individuals who are affected.
Last Words on Ingrown Toenails
- An ingrown toenail, also known as onychocryptosis, is one of the most prevalent toenail disorders that may affect anybody at any age. It may be a painful ailment that, if not treated correctly, might develop infected. Ingrown toenails most often affect the big toe, although they may also affect other toes.
- There are three stages of ingrown toenails: mild (stage 1), moderate (stage 2), and severe (stage 3). Swelling of the nail folds, erythema, edema, and discomfort with pressure define mild instances. Increased edema, drainage, infection, and ulceration of the nail fold are all symptoms of moderate instances. Chronic inflammation and granulation and significant nail-fold enlargement are seen in the most severe instances of an ingrown toenail.
- Wearing shoes that crowd the toenails, such as heels or any shoes that are too tight, cutting toenails too short or not straight across, injuring the toenail, having unusually curved toenails, toe deformities, subungual exostosis (bone outgrowth from the tip of the toe), and using isotretinoin in the treatment of severe acne are some of the most common causes of an ingrown toenail.
- Pain and discomfort in your toe along one or both sides of the nail, redness around your toenail, swelling of your toe around the nail, and infection of the tissue surrounding your toenail are all signs of an ingrown toenail.
- To get rid of an ingrown toenail at home, soak or wash the foot, wash with Castile soap, use dental floss beneath the nail, avoid high heels and tight shoes, and use essential oils to help decrease inflammation and discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you remove an ingrown toenail yourself?
You can try soaking your foot in warm water and then using a pumice stone to remove the dead skin.
What will draw out an ingrown toenail?
A doctor or podiatrist will typically remove an ingrown toenail by cutting it out with a scalpel. This is usually done in the office, but it can be done at home if you have the proper tools.
How can I permanently fix an ingrown toenail?
You can try soaking your foot in a bucket of water for a few hours.
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