Ingrown toenails can be a pain, literally. This condition causes discomfort, but it also puts you at increased risk of infection. As such, you’ll clearly want to do something about it. For mild cases—especially those that are not causing severe pain or are recurrent—you may want to start with at-home ingrown toenail treatment.
The good news about ingrown toenails is that many cases can be taken care of in the comfort of your own home. When it comes to home treatment for ingrown nails, use the following procedure:
- Soak your feet. Fill up a basin or tub with warm water and soak your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do this three or four times during the course of the day to reduce tenderness and swelling in the affected area.
- Place dental floss under the nail. After you have soaked your feet, place a fresh bit of waxed dental floss under the ingrown edge of your nail. This can help the nail grow above the edge of the skin, as intended.
- Apply antibiotic ointment. Decrease the risk of an infection by applying an antibiotic cream to the affected area and then cover it with a clean bandage.
- Change your footwear. Until your toe is less sore and feels better, switch your footwear to sandals or open-toed shoes (when possible).
- Take medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help to reduce any discomfort from the condition. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium are popular choices, but be sure to consult with us for suggestions and recommended dosages specifically for you.
Even better than treating an ingrown toenail is preventing one from happening. To reduce your risk of having to deal with this problem, you should:
- Trim your toenails correctly. Clip your nails straight across (instead of rounded) and not too short (keep them roughly even with the edge of your toes).
- Wear shoes that fit well. Tight footwear squashes toes together in the front, which can then lead to nails growing into the flesh surrounding them. Always wear shoes that fit correctly and have plenty of room in the front. If you can’t wiggle your toes, pick another pair!
- Protect your feet. Invest in a good pair of safety shoes or steel-toed boots, particularly if your job requires you to frequently move heavy objects.
- Ask for help. You can also protect your feet from the physical trauma that can cause an ingrown toenail by asking a friend or loved one to give you a hand if you are moving something heavy at home.
Of course, another potential cause of ingrown toenails is simply an inherited nail structure. There’s really no way to prevent that from happening, but you can come see us for professional care. Whereas you might be able to treat other ingrown toenails at home, this particular root cause tends to cause the condition to repeatedly occur. Often, the best practice is to permanently remove the affected nail.
If at-home treatment for ingrown nail isn’t working, come see us here at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute and we’ll be glad to help. Find the pain relief you need today - call (512) 592-2949 and request your appointment!