How To Treat An Ingrown Toenail
At-Home Treatments: If your ingrown toenail isnt infected, you can do the following to self-treat the condition at home:
- Soak: Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salts to soothe and soften the area. This will also encourage the pus to drain and reduce pain.
- Combat Infection: To prevent an infection from forming, apply antibiotic lotion or antifungal to the area.
- Medicate: Alleviate swelling and pain by taking over the counter pain medication.
In-Office Treatments: If your toenail is still painful, infected, or is getting worse, its time to see a professional and get medical advice. In-office, your doctor will either partially or fully remove the ingrown nail. Generally, they will numb the area, perform the removal, and then give you post-operative care instructions. That will likely include some ways to prevent an ingrown toenail from occurring again, including advising you to wear the right shoes and socks, as well as trimming or clipping your nails properly and more.
What Is An Ingrown Toenail And Its Stages
An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the edges of your nails on your feet, especially your toenail, tend to grow into the skin beside the nail itself.
The treatment for ingrown toenail can easily be carried out at home but the same needs intensive care when the condition gets worse and starts to showcase signs of infection.
If you are pondering how to detect if or not the ingrown toenail is infected, it is the appearance of it that will easily give it away.
Majority of the time, an infected ingrown toenail is filled with pus which tends to ooze out along with blood and tissues. The pain, at times, is unbearable which is yet another significant symptom that your ingrown toenail is in its last stage and needs immediate medical attention.
As per medical terms, an ingrown toenail has three distinct stages :
- The first stage of an ingrown toenail is signified by the initial inflammation around the toe along with redness and initial accumulation of fluid around the nail.
- The second stage is significant for an infected ingrown toenail and is characterized by heightened pain around the toenail along with the discharge of the accumulated pus and fluid which results in spreading of the bacteria.
- The final stage of an ingrown toenail is when the hypertrophic tissue starts to develop around the infected ingrown toenail and is primarily the result of neglecting the situation rather than seeking medical attention.
How To Treat An Infected Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenail infections can often be treated at home if youre able to get under the part of the nail thats digging into your skin.
Dont yank or pull on your nail. You may be able to lift the skin gently with a piece of dental floss, but dont force it, and make sure your hands are clean when you try.
If your infection doesnt begin to dissipate within a few days, see a doctor. They may be better able to lift and get under the nail, making treatment with topical antibiotics easier.
Treatments your doctor may try include:
- packing antibiotic-soaked gauze under the nail to eliminate the infection and help the nail to grow out regularly
- trimming or cutting off the part of your nail thats ingrown
- surgery in the case of a serious or recurring problem
If a bone infection is suspected, your doctor may do a blood test to see how deep the infection goes. Other tests include:
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How To Prevent Ingrown Toenail
Now that we have also covered all the important and necessary points regarding the ingrown toenail, let us focus on the methods of prevention that can ensure that the painful situation of ingrown toenail removal doesnt even arise in the first place.
Some of the common ways of prevention of ingrown toenail include:
- Always trim the toenails straight and not curved
- Maintain proper healthy foot hygiene
- Get pedicure done every month or every two weeks
- Wear correctly fitted shoes, try not to wear high heels or tight shoes. They may cause high pressure as well as a delay in healing the affected area. You can use sandals instead, which can be highly helpful. It will also provide freedom to the nails to grow in a proper way without causing any problem.
- If your toenails are generally thick and curved, it is best to consult a physician to get the problem checked
Causes Of An Ingrown Toenail
Improper cutting of the nail: this is the most common cause of ingrown toenail. More often than not, we follow the curve of the toenails when cutting them. This encourages the toenails to grow into the adjacent skin or nail bed. The nails should rather be cut straight across. Another improper cutting of the nail that a lot of us do is cutting the nail too short this also encourages the nail to curve and ultimately result in an ingrown toenail.
Thick toenails: when the toenails get thick, they take funny growths and are strong enough to easily penetrate the surrounding skin. Thick toenails often happen with age and are also caused by toenails fungus.
Wearing ill-fitting footwear: this is another key cause of ingrown toenails. Wearing tight socks or shoes chokes the toes causing them to cramp together hence forcing the nails into awkward positions. It ultimately results in toenails growing into the surrounding skin.
Injury: Injury to the toenails such as jamming your toes or hitting them against hard objects could also cause an ingrown toenail. athletes, especially those who use their feet extensively e.g. football players, are more susceptible to this.
Poor posture: taking postures that make the put pressure on the surrounding skin promotes ingrown toenail.
Genetic predisposition, underlying health issues, congenital toenail deformity, and edema are also possible causes of an ingrown toenail.
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What Causes An Infected Toenail
Your toenail can become infected in a number of ways, including fungal infections or even calluses caused by your shoes. One of the most common types of toenail infections is an ingrown toenail. If your toenail is ingrown, it means the edges of your toenail start to grow into the skin next to your toenail. Ingrown toenails can be red and inflamed, sore, and may even be filled with pus.
The most common causes of an ingrown toenails include:
- Cutting your toenail too short or too long
- Curved toenails
- Improper footwear that puts pressure on your big toes
- Cutting your toenail improperly
- Certain sports and activities like dance, soccer, and skiing
- Poor foot hygiene
Infections on your toes may be common if you have diabetes or similar conditions that cause poor circulation or a weakened immune system. Diabetics should check their feet often and have regular appointments with a podiatrist because they may not feel the pain of a toe infection until the problem is severe.
Ingrown Toenail Pus Coming Out
Ingrown nails or ingrown toenail pus are scientifically referred to as Onychocryptosis, which is a kind of nail disease. The condition is painful, as the nail will either cut or grow into both sides of your nail beds. Although the ingrown nails are mainly found in the toenails, they can also be found in the fingernails.
When invaded by bacteria, the margin of the nail will start to become red, and will start to swell as well. In many cases, it will also demonstrate the presence of pus or drainage or pus coming out of the pus pocket. It is important to note that some ingrown toenails tend to be chronic, with some coming with repeated episodes of infection and pain.
People with diabetes, or the other conditions known to cause poor circulation in the area surrounding the feet are at a higher risk of suffering from complications associated with ingrown toenail pus. To temporarily relieve the pain, you should consider soaking your foot in a bucket filled with warm water. Also, note that, initially, the toe does not become infected, even though an infection can develop later, after the nail has been able to penetrate the skin surface and has become ingrown.
In some cases, this infection could start spreading, and it will make the toe to become red, as well as inflamed. You should note that this condition is very different from the nail fungus. Additionally, pus may start to collect in the region that has been affected.
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Possible Risks And Complications
Infected ingrown hair can occasionally cause complications like:
- Staph infection. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can enter your body through a break in your skin. Picking at ingrown hairs can promote a staph infection.
- Ingrown hair cysts. These large pockets of infection run deep below the skins surface and can develop at the site of an ingrown hair, causing scarring.
- Permanent scarring. Digging at an infected ingrown hair can cause the lesion to expand, creating more potential for scars.
- Destruction of the hair follicle. Some invasive infections can destroy the hair follicle, causing hair loss and scarring.
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Medically Reviewed on 2/18/2021
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Other Methods For Treating Ingrown Toenails At Home
There are plenty of other ways to help your ingrown toenail heal at home. Consider the following remedies:
- Wear open-toed shoes whenever possible. If you have to wear close-toed shoes, choose a pair that gives your toes room to move freely.
- Pull skin away from your ingrown toenail very carefully. With a small, blunt nail file or similar instrument, gently lift the skin away from your nail.
- Apply antibiotic ointment on the infected toe.
- Use over-the-counter medication to reduce pain. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve short-term pain.
- Apply an antifungal cream if youâre suspicious that you have a fungal infection. These can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by your healthcare provider.
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Ingrown Toenail Infections Risks
MRSA infections can spread into the bone, requiring weeks of intravenous antibiotics and sometimes surgery. Its very important to treat infected ingrown toenails quickly in order to avoid this complication.
Any condition that reduces blood flow or causes nerve damage to the feet can also inhibit healing. This can make infections more likely and harder to treat.
Complications resulting from hard-to-treat infections can include gangrene. This complication typically requires surgery to remove dead or dying tissue.
Treatments For Ingrown Hair
If the ingrown hair is mild or not infected, your doctor may advise you to stop shaving or removing the hair until the condition resolves. If you have a more persistent form of ingrown hair issues such as folliculitis or ingrown hair cysts, your doctor may decide on another course of treatment.
A simple infected ingrown hair usually doesnt require much treatment. A dermatologist may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to fight the infection, in some cases.
Preventing ingrown hairs is the first step to preventing infections. Although people with certain hair types are more prone to ingrown hairs than others, you can help prevent and treat these unsightly bumps at home by using these tips:
People who experience constant issues with ingrown hairs and arent able to let the hair grow out can consider permanent laser hair removal. This treatment uses high concentrations of light to zap the base of the hair follicle. This damages the follicle, preventing future hair growth over time.
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When To See A Doctor For An Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenails can easily be healed with the common preventive methods and home remedies if it is diagnosed in the preliminary stages but the same can leave negative effects, if left untreated for a long time, with expectations of it healing naturally.
On normal grounds, it has been seen that an ingrown toenail can take about two weeks to a month to completely heal. The process of healing and recovery completely depends on the kind of remedy administered and the stage of the ingrown toenail that it has been diagnosed in.
If you are finding your toenail in extreme pain accompanied with the loss of blood and oozing out of the accumulated pus and fluid, it is most likely time to consult a doctor and get the problem checked. If situations like these persist, there are chances that you might even need a surgery to get the problem fixed.
Ingrown toenails can be the resultant of a number of reasons and the same can inflict a number of problems as well, if the condition is sidetracked and not paid attention to. If you are looking for easy ingrown toenail removal home remedies, we have covered almost everything there is to cover. If you are still finding yourself in a pickle, it is always best to consult a doctor for it and get the problem checked as soon as possible.
Apple Cider Vinegar Wash
Apple cider vinegar has an impactful presence in the treatment of ingrown toenail because of its pronounced anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and pain relieving properties. Even with the pronounced results that many people have actually experienced, there are no specific scientific explanations as to how the same works for ingrown toenail removal.
This helps fight the bacterial growth in the infected ingrown toenail and provides with simultaneous pain relief for ingrown toenail as well.
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What Causes Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenails can affect any individual both men and women. According to expert reports, it is suggested that people with sweaty feet are the ones mostly at risk with an ingrown toenail. Even ageing is a very common cause for ingrown toenail because of the fact that the toenails become thicker with age.
Some of the common causes of an ingrown toenail include:
- Irregular cutting of toenails, primarily cutting them in rounded shapes
- Tight footwear that imposes pressure on the toenails
- Stabbing your toenail against any solid object
- A sudden injury to the toenails
- Lack of proper foot hygiene
How To Get Rid Of An Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenails often times are hard to get rid of at home which is why it is best to consult a doctor in situations like those. But, if the situation is not that severe, there are chances that you can remove an ingrown toenail yourself.
If you are looking for easy ways to fix an ingrown toenail permanently, you have stumbled across the correct place.
- Cut your nails proper and uniformly, making sure that there are no crooked ends
- Clean your toenails on a regular basis to get rid of the accumulated dirt in the nooks and crevices of the toenail
- Soak your feet in warm water to help relieve the pain that comes with an ingrown toenail. This also helps with the accumulated pus or fluid in the infected area
- Use medicated powder to help kill the bacterial infestation in the infected ingrown toenail
- Consult a professional for the treatment for ingrown toenail infection
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Treating Ingrown Toenail Pus
Ingrown toenails are the most common foot ailment. If you are experiencing an ingrown toenail, you are certainly not alone. Taking action at the first sign of toe pain can lead to a quick and easy treatment of ingrown toenail.
Left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected. Signs of infection are redness and pus at the site. Your body naturally produces pus as part of its immune response to infection. This pus can be clear, white, or yellow in colour. Pus is quite common at a point of infection. If you see pus, treatment is needed for both the infection and the ingrown toenail.
Caring For An Infected Or Ingrown Toenail
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An infected toenail is a slow pain thats easy to ignore. That is, until it isnt. Whether the infection is caused by an ingrown nail or because of an injury, its hard to ignore when your toenail is a red, infected, sore mess. If you feel that you have an infection in your toe, you should follow up with a podiatrist or visit your local InstaCare or urgent care clinic as soon as possible.
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When To See A Doctor
Although you can do many things to treat an infected toe at home, its important to understand when you need to seek medical care. Call your doctor or a podiatrist if:
- You are noticing redness, swelling, and/or drainage coming from your toe
- You think you may have a fungal infection and over-the-counter creams havent worked
- You have an infected or ingrown toenail and youre diabetic
- Your toenail infection symptoms dont go away, they worsen, or they keep coming back
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have a fever and notice red streaks on your skin that lead away from the infected area on your toe, as these symptoms indicate a more severe infection.
An infected toenail can impact your daily life, but it doesnt have to. Learning how to treat an infected toe and knowing when to call your doctor can get you back to doing all the activities you love. If youre concerned about an infection in your toe, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist before attempting to treat painful symptoms at home.