Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable, but here’s the good news: you can treat them easily and painlessly. Unfortunately, if left untreated properly, it can lead to several other complications. Ingrown toenails occur when there’s a sharp edge of the nail that pokes the skin folds. There are times when the wound becomes infected. Before this happens, here are some treatments you can safely try:
1. Soak your foot in warm water.
Make sure it’s warm, not hot water mixed with one to two tablespoons of Epsom salts. Allow your feet to stay there for at least five minutes once to twice daily. This can help reduce inflammation and encourage the nail grow out properly.
2. Apply ointment on the skin.
If your nail has already broken your skin or is almost there, apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
3. Trim your nails properly.
While curved nails do look attractive for many people, it is not the right way of cutting them. Start trimming straight across and file the nails if they are too sharp.
4. Wear the right socks and shoes.
If your nail has already cut your skin, don’t wear socks with colors. Stay with white socks since the dyes can leak into the wound. You may also want to buy new shoes and make sure that they don’t pinch your toes. For women, high heels should be avoided. Both men and women should wear shoes that are not too tight; otherwise, this could lead to ingrown nails and even infection.
5. Wedge a tiny piece of wet cotton.
You can use a cotton ball and put it under the ingrown toenail to help lift it off of the skin naturally.
6. Don’t drain the pus using a needle.
If there’s pus caused by a cut on the skin due to the nail, you shouldn’t try using a needle as this could easily lead to an infection.
As your ingrown nail is healing, make sure that you wear proper footwear. If the weather permits it, use sandals unless you’re going in the city where there are bacteria all over the sidewalks. The mentioned treatments above are great for use for about three days. If you see that there’s no improvement in your ingrown nails, you should see a doctor to check if it’s infected.
Most of the time, your doctor will give you antibiotics. For some cases, a minor surgery may be suggested by the doctor to remove the ingrown nail.