There are people who have fought ingrown toenails for years before they finally found a lasting remedy, and there are others who still struggle. Anyone can end up with an abnormal toenail that digs into their foot’s skin, but how does it happen and what can be done about it?
An ingrown toenail is a nasty but common foot issue that occurs when the nail’s side grows inwards towards the skin. It can happen on one or both sides of the nail. Tight shoes, injury, genes, and improper cutting can contribute to their cause.
When you get one, pain, swelling, redness, or infection can come along with it. If that sounds like you, then these home treatments could be the very thing you need.
Salt SoakArtistic Endeavor via Dollar Photo Club
Sometimes an old-fashioned salt bath is what you need to deliver you from pain and swelling. Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt for 15-20 minutes at least twice per day. If it’s not infected, allow it to grow out and them trim it properly in a straight line across the top.
If you have pain or swelling, you can try cutting the nail down, applying an antibiotic ointment, and then bandaging it. Or, you can do this step first to soften the nail and then follow one of the other remedies listed below.
One of the most popular treatments is to gently place a small piece of a cotton gauze under the nail where it curves into the skin. The nail will grow out and allow you to correct the curving. Dipping the cotton in either peroxide or apple cider vinegar can also help to combat infection. Swap it out daily.
Why not? To redirect the growth pattern of the ingrown nail, place a piece of dental floss underneath its entire edge. Snip off the ends of the floss and leave it in there. This method can also help alleviate pain by separating the nail from the impacted area.
Vicks VapoRubMargaret Stranks via Flickr
A multipurpose healer, Vicks has been used to heal ingrown toenails for kiddos and adults. Rub a little onto an infected nail and cover it with a bandage. The oils in VapoRub have antiseptic properties but the ointment will also help the nail to soften, making it easier to lift. You can combine this with method 1 or 2.
The V Cut
Cut a “V” into the top center part of the nail. This will direct the nail to grow back together towards the middle and away from the edges that are cutting into your skin. Filing the top of the nail can also help to thin it out and encourage a new growth direction.
You can take care of pain and swelling with tea tree, lavender, or clove oil by rubbing it onto the affected part of the toe with a cotton swab. Tea tree and lavender oil have antimicrobial properties, while clove is an analgesic, providing pain relief.
TumericSteven Jackson via Flickr
Make a paste with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and some water to apply to the affected area. Leave it on for a couple of hours before washing it off, or cover it with a bandage and allow it to dry. Reapply as needed. Tumeric is known as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving herb, but mind your socks because it does stain!
Although some cases of ingrown toenails are hereditary, prevention is the best measure against this ailment. Avoid wearing tight shoes or high heels that cause your toes to push against the shoe, putting pressure on the nail.
Cut your toenails straight across and evenly. File corners down instead of rounding them with clippers. Trimming them too short can also cause ingrown nails. If your case is too severe or you suffer from a major health issue like diabetes, see a physician for treatment!