Toenails often grow and curve at the edge, thereby penetrating the surrounding skin. This can be painful and may cause some swelling and redness. Both men and women experience this condition and the big toe is often the most affected. Ingrown toenails are commonly caused by toenail trauma when you stub your toe, cut them too short or at an angle and wear very tight shoes. However, treating them as soon as they occur can help to prevent infection. For mild cases, minor treatment using home remedies can make the problem go aware but more severe cases may require surgery. Below are top tips to help you eliminate ingrown toenails.
Soak them in warm, soapy water. This can help to ease pain and reduce swelling. This can be done for 20 minutes up to three times daily. You may also soak them in apple cider vinegar, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and some pain-relieving abilities, although scientific evidence seems limited. You can mix 1/4 cup of this vinegar with a basin of warm water and then soak your feet in it for 20 minutes daily. Ensure you dry your feet properly thereafter.
Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can also reduce the risk of toenail infection and promote healing. Applying the cream or ointment to your toenail according to the manufacturer’s instructions can help relieve the affected area of pain and related symptoms. Examples of such ointments include Polysporin, Bactroban, and Neosporin.
Ingrown toenails are also caused by tight or uncomfortable socks and shoes. This means you should avoid wearing socks and shoes that crowd your toes. Wearing comfortable socks and shoes can help to control the growth of ingrown toenails. Also, wearing sandals often can reduce the pressure applied to your toenails.
Consider using over-the-counter pain relievers for ingrown toenails such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help relieve the pain caused by ingrown toenails. They usually have mild or no side effects unless you take more than 3, 000 mg, which is the daily recommended dosage. Consuming them with alcohol may also cause you to experience some side effects. Ibuprofen (Advil) may also be used if you are experiencing pain and swelling. However, ibuprofen may cause some stomach upset, abdominal pain, and even diarrhea in some cases. Also, do note that over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken as directed by the drug manufacturer or your physician.
You can also try toe protectors to give you the cushioning barrier you need to avoid developing ingrown toenails. They are in the form of rings to fit around the painful area or to cover the entire toe. A few contain a medicated gel to soften the affected toenails to give you an easy time for trimming. Alternatively, you can use toe braces made of adhesive, composite material and are thin enough to be placed on your toenail for protection. They can help to protect you from sharp, ingrown toenails that can cause injury to your skin.
Some doctors recommend using oral antibiotics but they are not routinely prescribed by physicians for unaffected ingrown toenails. They are ideal for infected toenails or a weakened immune system. Common signs of infection may include throbbing pain, redness, swelling, foul odor, and pus. However, antibiotics for effective treatment may include amoxicillin, ampicillin, and vancomycin.
Ingrown toenails are common and tend to affect the big toe. They can cause excruciating pain and become unbearable. Getting rid of them requires a mix of strategies that may include dipping your feet in warm, soapy water and applying ointment or cream and following your doctor’s prescription.