Ingrown toenails are common in adults and children, particularly if you have a genetic history of getting them. They can also be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, incorrect toenail trimming, or a toenail injury. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected and may require professional medical treatment.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat an ingrown toenail on your own. Here’s what you need to know.
5 Ways to Treat an Ingrown Toenail
1. Let your toenail have some space
Stop wearing uncomfortable, tight-fitting shoes, including high heels and dress shoes, when you have an ingrown toenail. Air your toe out as much as possible by walking around your home barefoot or wearing open-toed sandals or shoes. This will stimulate blood and air flow to your toe and can speed up the healing process. Make sure to take off wet or sweaty socks as soon as possible to prevent infection.
2. Soak your foot
Soaking the foot that has an ingrown toenail will soften the nail up and relieve pressure. You should soak your foot relatively frequently, about 3 times a day for about 15–20 minute at a time. Dry your foot thoroughly after each soak to prevent infections. If your toenail is already infected, you can add a few drops of tree tea oil to the water before you soak your foot. This will reduce swelling and inflammation to help combat the infection. You can prop the nail up after your soak, while it’s still soft, to encourage it to grow the way it’s supposed to.
3. Give your foot a massage
Massage can do wonders for all parts of your body, including your feet. Focus on massaging the affected toe to reduce swelling and relieve the pain that the ingrown toenail is causing. Do this after your foot soak, while your nail is soft so you can move it away from the skin to discourage it from growing back into your skin.
4. Rub an antiseptic cream into your toe
If your ingrown toenail has become infected, you can rub an antiseptic cream into it to reduce signs of infection, including redness and swelling. Rub the cream into your toe every few hours until you notice the signs of infection going away. You can use an over the counter pain reliever if you feel pain because of an infected in grown toenail. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns before taking any medication.
5. Practice prevention steps
Once your ingrown toenail clears up, you want to avoid getting another one. The best way to prevent an ingrown toenail is to wear sensible shoes, cut your toenails regularly, and refrain from wearing wet shoes and socks as much as possible to prevent fungal infections from occurring.
If you have an ingrown toenail that isn’t going away on its own, make an appointment with us to discuss further treatment options. In some cases, your doctor can surgically remove the portion of the toenail that is bothering you and give you antibiotics to prevent further infections.