If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know the pain that it can cause. Not only that, but it’s annoying because we use our toes in some way or another as part of our usual daily movement, and this use and constant knocking seems to aggravate the nail even more. It makes it more noticeable and seems to last forever!
Anyone who ever has an ingrown toenail must have known how painful it can be. But that’s not all the problem with ingrown toenail. Your toes are actively involved in doing your daily activities, and using it constantly while having ingrown toenail will only aggravate the condition.
Ingrown toenail which also known as onychocryptosis, may occur at any age. It is one of the most common toenail problem and can be very painful. This condition need to be treated properly or else it can become infected.
Some studies indicate that this problem is more common among male compare to female, especially in people age 14 – 25. Nevertheless, anyone can be affected by this issue.
Ingrown toenail can occur due to various factors including, tight-fitting footwear, improper nail-cutting technique, trauma, anatomical factors like thickening of the nail plate, pressure from abutting digits caused by hallux valgus or lesser toe deformities, a pincer-shaped toenail, the presence of subungual exostosis, and sometimes, the use of isotretinoin when treating severe acne.
One part of the problems that most people often forget is toenail fungus. This problem can occur when fungus enter the nail through a small trauma like cut or break in the nail. Most people may not know that poor hygiene is not the cause of nail fungus. But if you have an ingrown toenail, then you definitely have to keep the area clean.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways that can be used to eliminate ingrown toenail that you can do by yourself. So let see some more information about ingrown toenail and how eliminate this problem.
Getting Rid of Ingrown Toenail
So what actually is ingrown toenail? Ingrown toenail is a condition where the corner or the side of toenail grows into the soft flesh. Some anatomic and behavioral factor that can cause ingrown toenail are poor foot hygiene, improper trimming, genetic predisposition, inadvertent or repetitive trauma, and hyperhidrosis.
There are three categories of ingrown toenails which are: mild (stage 1), moderate (stage 2) and severe (stage 3). Mild cases are associated with edema, nail-fold swelling, erythema, and pain with pressure. Moderate cases are characterized by drainage, increased swelling, infection, and ulceration of the nail fold. While in the most severe cases, ingrown toenail can show chronic inflammation, granulation, and nail-fold hypertrophy.
No matter what stage are you in, ingrown toenail will cause redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes, an infection. This condition usually affect the big toe, but it doesn’t mean that other toes can’t be affected. As long as the pain is not severe or spread, you can treat the ingrown toenail by yourself. But when it does, then you better consult to your doctor to prevent further complication.
Here are some of the symptoms of ingrown toenail:
- Redness around your toenail
- Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail
- Swelling around your toenail
- Infection of the tissue around your toenail
Many people choose surgery once if the toenail already reach stage 2 or 3. But if it is still in stage 1, you can use some natural ways to treat the problem as follow:
1. Soak Your Foot
To keep your foot clean and free of bacteria, you can soak your foot in a soapy water. Do it three to four times a day. Epsom water can also be used to soften the skin of the affected area. This way, draw out the toenail from the skin would be easier.
2. Use Castile Soap
If soaking doesn’t work well with your schedule, you can try washing the foot and affected area twice a day with soap and water. You may want to consider Castile soapdue to its natural and pure ingredients. Make sure to keep the foot clean and dry.
You don’t have time to soaking your foot? Then consider washing your foot with soap and water twice a day. Try to use castile soap because it made of pure and natural ingredients.
3. Wash Your Foot with Apple Cider Vinegar
Another natural treatment for ingrown toenail is apple cider vinegar. Add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to warm water where you will soak your foot. You can also apply diluted apple cider vinegar to your foot directly. This step can prevent infection, however it cannot cure the existing bacterial infection.
4. Using Dental Floss under the Nail
You can shift the nail to grown correctly instead of down into the skin by placing dental floss under the ingrown nail edge. Just ensure that you’re not using the flavored version since it can cause a burning sensation. This method might be uncomfortable but it is quite effective. You may have to wait around one to two weeks until the nail grow out. You may also need to cut the nail carefully to get underneath it.
5. Avoid Using High Heels and Tight Shoes
Many women enjoy using high heels. But when you suffered from ingrown toenail, you need to keep your high heels away from you. Using high heels may cause more pressure to the affected area and will only make your healing process become slower and painful. You should also avoid using tight shoes when you have ingrown toenail. Wear sandals instead as it will allow the nail to heal properly.
6. Reduce Inflammation and Pain Using Essential Oils
Combine melaleuca, tea tree oil close, Cyprus, lavender and rosemary with a carries oil like coconut oil to create your own essential oil. Mix all the ingredient and massage the oil onto the affected area. By using natural remedy to treat the ingrown toenail, you can avoid using synthetic medication.
Cutting the Ingrown Toenail
This process can be quite difficult, so if possible, get some help. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Start by soaking your feet in a warm water that has been mixed by Epsom salt or Castile soap for around 20 minutes. This will help soften the toenail and skin and reduce swelling.
Use clean finger to push back the swollen skin carefully. This might feel uncomfortable.
Cut the nail straight across starting from the edges of the toenail. Cut the nail from the side, not from the middle.
Put a small piece of cotton between the skin and the ingrown toenail. This will help the ingrown toenail from coming back so it will grow correctly.
Apply the ointment from the recipe below to the affected area and wrap it carefully.
To help the healing process, do not wear socks and shoes while you’re at home. You can use flip-flops or shoes that protect your from dirt but allow open air.
Change the cotton daily to prevent infection. You can change it twice a day.
Recipe for the Ingrown Toenail Ointment
To heal the ingrown toenail, make you own ointment. You can ease the pain and speed up the healing process by using applying this ointment on your toe.
Prepare These Ingredients:
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus oil
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 2 ounces coconut oil
- 2 drops peppermint oil
- 2 ounces aloe vera gel
- 1 drop oregano oil
How to create the ointment
Put all ingredients in a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Stir it using a small spoon until well-blended.
Cleanse and rinse your toe, then apply the ointment on the area.
Let it dry by wearing flip-flops if possible. If it’s not, bandage the toe carefully and loosely, but you need to wear loose-fitting shoes.
Repeat the process two to three times per day. Do not forget to wash your hands after and avoid the eyes, especially if you are using oregano oil since it can be very strong and will give a burning sensation.
The Most Common Cause of Ingrown Toenail
Below you can find some of the most common causes of an ingrown toenail:
- Injured toenail
- Toe deformities
- Wearing shoes that press the toenail like heels or tight-fitting shoes
- Cutting toenail improperly
- Having unusually curved toenails
- The use of isotretinoin in the treatment of severe acne
- Subungual exostosis (outgrowth of bone from the tip of the toe)
The development of ingrown toenail can be caused by various factors like anatomic and behavioral mechanism. Repetitive trauma like running, kicking or inadvertent trauma like the toe can also be factors that cause ingrown toenail.
Some other factor that can also potentially cause ingrown toenail are poor foot hygiene. Predisposition and family history, hyperhidrosis, obesity, diabetes, thyroid, cardiac and renal disorder.
Something that you need to know is that ingrown fingernail is similar in terms of how it happens. It is usually cause by the improper trimming of the nail, injury, and even nail biting. No matter what the cause of whether it occur in the toenail or fingernail, this condition can be very painful and you show treat it immediately if you don’t wat it to become infected.
Thing You Need to Know about Ingrown Toenails
People who have diabetes or any other conditions which cause poor blood flow to their feet have higher risk of ingrown toenail complication. So ensure you treat your diabetes properly if you have one.
Ingrown toenail that left untreated can infect underlying bone and in the end can cause a serious bone infection. If you have diabetes, the complication can be very severe and may damage the nerves in your feet.
Summary of Ingrown Toenail Issue
An ingrown toenail, can affect people at any age and is one of the most common toenail problems. This condition can be very painful and if not taken care of properly may become infected. Though it usually affect big toe, other toes can also be affected.
There are three categories for ingrown toenail, which are mild (stage 1), moderate (stage 2) and severe (stage 3). Mild cases are associated with edema, nail-fold swelling, erythema, and pain with pressure. Moderate cases are characterized by drainage, increased swelling, infection, and ulceration of the nail fold. While in the most severe cases, ingrown toenail can show chronic inflammation, granulation, and nail-fold hypertrophy.
Some of the most common factors that can lead to ingrown toenail including wearing heels or tight-fitting shoes, improper way to cutting toenail, injured toenail, unusual curved toenail, toe deformities, subungual exostosis (outgrowth of bone from the tip of the toe), and use of isotretinoin in the treatment of severe acne.
When you have ingrown toenail, you may experience symptoms like pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail, swelling around the nail, redness around the nail, and infection of the tissue around your toenail.
There are some natural remedies you can do at home like soaking your foot, wash it with castile soap, wash your foot with apple cider vinegar, use dental floss under the nail, stay away from high heels and tight shoes, and reduce inflammation and pain using essential oils.