If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know they can be painful. Your toe can become red and swollen around the nail. While you may be able to treat your ingrown toenail at home on your own, if you develop an infection (or if you have diabetes or a circulation problem) you’ll need to see your doctor for treatment.
But for those cases when your toenail is not infected, you can try the following home remedies to treat your ingrown toenail and prevent it from coming back.
- Soak your foot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a day. Soaking will help relieve the pain and swelling. Make sure to dry your foot completely after each soaking. Keep your feet clean and dry whenever possible.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve any pain.
- Gently lift the corner of nail and pull the skin away from the nail using a blunt nail file. Don’t use anything sharp that can cut or hurt the toe. Roll up a small piece of clean cotton or gauze and place it between the ingrown toenail and the skin. This will help lift the nail and separate it from the skin, as well as provide some additional cushioning. Change the cotton or gauze daily. It may take one to two weeks for the nail to grow out so it no longer digs into the skin.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the area and cover it with a bandage to reduce your risk of developing an infection. The bandage will also provide some extra padding and protection.
- Wear shoes made of soft fabrics or that are open-toed while you’re treating an ingrown toenail to reduce any pain and pressure.
- Check your toe for signs of infection. If you develop an infection, see your doctor immediately. You may need to have all or part of your toenail removed. Plus you may need to take antibiotics for the infection.
- Make sure you always trim your toenails straight across. Never round your toenails. Also don’t cut them too short. Your toenails should be even with the tips of your toes. This will keep your toenails from growing into your skin.
- Make sure you wear shoes that fit properly. Your shoes shouldn’t pinch your toes, causing your nails to dig into the surrounding skin. Refer to the WalkEzStore Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on how to properly fit your shoes.
Proper prevention is the best way to keep from getting ingrown toenails. However, if you do spot an ingrown toenail, you can prevent an infection from occurring by following these tips.
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Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.