Following a well-balanced diet, exercising, and visiting your doctor for regular checkups are all key tasks to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, these healthy habits do not prevent you from developing every possible medical issue. You may not place much emphasis on your toenails, but proper trimming of the toenails and wearing shoes that fit properly are essential tasks for preventing painful ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails develop when the nail's edge grows into the skin of the toe. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the entire nail, decreasing pain while reducing the risk of an infection. Fortunately, treating an ingrown toenail at home is also possible using these simple DIY remedies.
Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salt, is a mineral that was discovered in a natural spring located in England. Not only is it proven to reduce swelling and inflammation, but Epsom salt also increases your body's production of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that naturally improves your mood, reducing stress and irritability.
To decrease the painful inflammation and swelling caused by an ingrown toenail, complete the following steps to soak your foot in an Epsom salt solution:
- Fill a tub with warm water and add 1 cup of Epsom salt.
- Use your hands to mix, dissolving the Epsom salt into the water.
- Place the foot with the ingrown toenail into the solution to soak.
- Soak the foot for 15 to 20 minutes. The Epsom salt will soften the nail, decreasing swelling and inflammation.
- After soaking, use a clean towel to dry off the nail. To reduce the risk of an infection, make sure your nail is completely dry.
- Soak your nail multiple times per day or until the ingrown nail grows into a more normal, pain-free position.
Utilizing dental floss to lift the ingrown nail off the toe is also an effective way to reduce the painful inflammation. However, you must first soften the nail by soaking it in the Epsom salt solution.
After soaking your foot for a few minutes, move a piece of dental floss under one corner of the ingrown toenail. Be very careful when using the floss to slowly pull the nail upwards off the skin. When lifting the nail with the floss, place a small piece of sterile gauze under the nail. This will help prop the nail up and off the skin, allowing it to grow back into a more normal position.
Each day, soak the nail and use the dental floss and gauze to prop the nail up. After a few days, you will notice an improvement in your ingrown toenail.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Dirt and bacteria can quickly build upon and around an ingrown toenail. If the nail is left unrepaired, you will most likely develop an infection. Here are a few signs of an infected ingrown toenail:
- Red, swollen skin around nail
- Bleeding around nail
- Oozing pus from nail
- Intense, throbbing pain
- Skin growing around toe
Infected ingrown toenails will require prescription antibiotics, so you should visit your doctor immediately if you are suffering with the above symptoms. Thankfully, apple cider vinegar can relieve some of the symptoms of an infection.
Apple cider vinegar contains acidic properties, which are naturally antibacterial and antiviral. Therefore, using this common household ingredient on an infected ingrown toenail is smart for easing an infection.
Soak a few cotton balls in apple cider vinegar. Then, place the cotton ball directly on the ingrown toenail. Allow it to sit and rest on the infected nail for a few minutes each day to kill the harmful, infection-causing bacteria.
An ingrown toenail is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause enormous pain while limiting your mobility. With this guide, you will understand how to treat an ingrown toenail at home. Talk to a podiatrist from a place like Foot First Podiatry Centers, for more information.