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Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is a common condition in which the corner or side of a toenail grows a soft flesh. This causes redness, pain and swelling and sometimes an infection. An ingrown toenail usually affects in the big toe.

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail

  • Pain and tenderness in the toe and along one or both sides of the nail.
  • Swelling of the toe around the nail
  • Infections of the tissue surrounding the toenail
  • Redness of the toenail

If the individual experiences severe discomfort in the toe, presence of pus that is spreading and suffering from conditions such as diabetes or conditions that causes reduced flow of blood in the feet and the foot is sore and infected, seek medical help immediately.

Causes

Ingrown toenail

Pain and tenderness in the toe and along one or both sides of the nail.

  • Damage on the toenail
  • Wearing shoes that cause crowding of the toenails
  • Cutting the nails too short or not straight across
  • Having unusually curved toenails

Treatment

  • Soak the affected foot in a mixture of hot water as long as it can be tolerated with Epsom salts for at least 15-30 minutes at 2 times every day. It softens the toenail and prevents infection of the ingrown toenail.
  • Remove the cuticles using a pair of tweezers and anything pointed that can remove the cuticles.
  • Trim the toenails and be extra care around the affected area. Make sure the toenail is cut perfectly square without pointed parts near the edges. Avoid cutting the nails in a rounded shape to prevent the development of ingrown toenails.
  • Make the toenail raised slightly and place a small piece of cotton between the toenail and skin to minimize an ingrown toenail from coming back.
  • Apply the prescribed antibiotic ointment to minimize the risk for an infection.
  • In a small tub filled with warm water, mix 1-2 cups of povidone-iodine solution and then soak the affected foot in the solution. Povidone-iodine is an antimicrobial that minimizes infection and fungus by forming a layer for protection until it is washed away.
  • Wrap the affected toe using a slice of lemon and wrap it using a bandage and leave it overnight. The acidity of the lemon eliminates infection overnight.
  • Apply tea tree oil or baby oil to the affected toenail to moisturize and soften the skin as well as reducing pressure place on the toenails when wearing shoes. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties while baby oil softens the skin.

Tips

  • Trim the toenail straight across and avoid curving the nails to match of the shape of the front of the toe.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly
  • Keep the feet covered to prevent infection by wearing socks
  • Avoid painting the nails while they are affected by ingrown nails to avoid unnecessary chemicals to minimize the risk for infection.

 

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