The pain associated with an ingrown toenail can be aggravating. Someone who ever had them can tell you about the pain. It can be even more annoying considering that your toes will be used in one or the other way because you will have to keep moving. So your toes will be constantly used and knocked. This can aggravate your nail further. This can make the problem last longer.
Ingrown toenails are called as onychocryptosis and they can occur at almost any age. It is also among the most commonly occurring toenail problems. This painful condition can soon get infected when it is not cared effectively.
Some studies show that the male to female ratio is a little higher. It is more so if you are in 14 to 25 years old. But patients of all age groups can get affected.
Ingrown toenail can develop because of so many reasons:
– Wearing tight-fitting footwear
– Improper nail-cutting methods
– Anatomical factors that thicken the nail plate
– Having pincer-shaped toenail
– Pressure due to abutting digits from lesser toe deformities or hallux valgus
– Having subungual exostosis
– Sometimes using isotretinoin (for treating severe acne) can also cause it (source)
Toenail fungus can also sometimes emerge as a problem on the sidelines. Nail fungus mostly happens if fungus gets an entry into the nail due to a small trauma like a break or cut in your nail. Poor hygiene doesn’t have anything to do with it. But once you have ingrown toenail, you must be careful about ensuring the area’s cleanliness (Source).
There are so many natural ways for treating ingrown toenail without having to go to the doctor.
So How to Eliminate Ingrown Toenail
You can take steps to great rid of ingrown toenail if you know what it is and what causes it. This is commonly occurring condition. It involves the side or corner of the toenail growing into the flesh.
It is expected that various behavioral and anatomic factors are involved in its development. This includes:
– Inadvertent trauma or repetitive trauma
– Improper nail trimming
– Poor foot hygiene
– Genetic predisposition
There are 3 categories into which ingrown toenails are grouped:
– Stage 1 or Mild – Often associated with edema, pain with pressure, erythema, and nail-fold swelling.
– Stage 2 or Moderate – Often associated with drainage, ulceration in nail fold, swelling, and infection.
– Stage 3 or Severe – Can have chronic inflammation and granulation, and also nail-fold hypertrophy.
The following symptoms can help you be certain that you actually have ingrown toenail:
– Tenderness and pain in the toe on either one or both sides of the nail
– Toe swelling around nail
– Redness in toenail area
– Infection in the tissue in toenail area
Fortunately, you can treat your ingrown toenail with natural ways. Usually surgery is chosen by many when they have stage 2 or stage 3 of ingrown toenail. But it is not required in stage 1. But you must start taking care of it as early as possible (Source).
The following care tips will help you:
1. Foot Soak or Washing
Soak your foot in warm and soapy water to keep the area clean and bacteria-free. Your foot should be soaked for 3-4 times daily. Adding Epsom salt into the water can help in softening the skin around the affected area. This can further ease the process of drawing the toenail out of the skin.
2. Use Castile Soap for Washing
When soaking is not an option, the foot can be washed 2 times a day using soap and water. Use castile soap because it has pure and natural ingredients. Your foot must always be kept clean and dry too.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Wash
You can use apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a natural treatment for your ingrown toenail. Just add 1/4 cup of it into warm water which can be used as a foot soak. You can also directly apply diluted ACV in purified water.
It can not just help stave off infection, it is also likely to cure your bacterial infection. The antibacterial characteristics can also help in cleaning the area as it is healing.
4. Under-Nail Dental Floss
When you place dental floss or cotton wisps under your ingrown nail edge, it can shift the nail so that it grows correctly and not into the skin.
– Lift the nail’s corner that digs into the skin
– Roll very small gauze piece or cotton piece between your fingers so that you will have a small wick or roll
– Put it between the skin and the nail
You can also use dental floss if you need an even gentler technique. Avoid flavored version because they can cause burning sensation. The goal is to ensure that the nail remains elevated so that it can grow out and also in different direction from the skin. You may find this little uncomfortable, but it’s useful.
5. Stop Wearing Tight Shoes or High Heels
Most women love high heels. However, you should not wear them if you want your ingrown toenail to be remedied faster. This is because of the extra pressure they put on the area. This can slow down the healing and also cause pain.
You should avoid all types of tight-fitting shoes. You can try sandals because they allow your nail to heal the right way.
6. Essential Oils for Reducing Pain & Inflammation
Prepare your essential oil blend by mixing the following in a carrier oil like coconut oil:
– Tea tree oil (melaleuca)
Blend together and massage gently on the affected area.
You will be avoiding the use of synthetic medications because this is natural remedy for your ingrown toenail. The area will get a healthy environment for healing.
Cutting Your Ingrown Toenail
It is difficult to cut an ingrown toenail. You should be careful and also get help from others.
– Soak the feet in warm water which has Epsom salt mixed in it. You can also use castile soap to mix. Soak for 20 minutes so that the toenail and surrounding skin is softer and has reduced swelling.
– Make sure your fingers are clean. Push the swollen skin back. This may be uncomfortable. Be gentle with the pushing and don’t push more than what the skin allows.
– Cut your nail straight across, starting with the edges and then from the sides.
– Make sure a tiny piece of cotton is put between the skin and the ingrown nail. This prevents the toenail from returning, so that it grows properly.
– Then use the ointment from the recipe to be applied below the affected area. Then bandage the area.
– Don’t wear shoes or socks so as to speed up healing. It will be best to choose a shoe or flip-flops that keep dirt away but not open air.
– You should also change the cotton everyday (at least 2 times daily) to prevent infection.
Preparing Ingrown Toenail Ointment Recipe at Home
Essential oils have been proven for their infection-preventing and pain-relief benefits. When you put this ointment on the toe, it can give relief from pain and speed up healing.
– Eucalyptus oil – 5 drops
– Oregano oil – 1 drop
– Tea tree oil – 5 drops
– Peppermint oil – 2 drops
– Lavender oil – 5 drops
– Coconut oil – 2 oz
– Aloe vera gel – 2 oz
How to Prepare?
– Take a small glass jar having tight-fitting lid and put all these ingredients in it
– Stir with a small spoon until it gets properly blended
– Cleanse and rinse the toe and then apply this ointment over the area
– Let it air dry and wear flip flops. On the other hand you can have a loose bandage on the toe and wear a loose-fitting shoes
– Make sure the area is redressed 2-3 times daily. Your hands should be washed and don’t touch your eyes. Oregano oil is of special concern in this regard. It is a natural antibiotic but it is quite strong and can give a burning sensation. Make sure all the oils are used along with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) as prescribed.
What Causes Ingrown Toenail?
These are some of the common causes behind ingrown toenails (Source):
– If you wear shoes which crowd your toenails. Examples include too tight shoes or those with heels
– Injury to toenail
– Cutting your toenails not straight across or too short
– Having toe deformities
– If the toenails are unusually curved
– Using isotretinoin for treating severe acne
– Subungual exostosis (which is outgrowth of bone from the toe’s tip)
Ingrown toenails can have a number of risk factors. They can be behavioral or anatomic mechanisms.
According to some experts, if you have thin and flat nails and wide nail folds, they are likely to increase the risk of having ingrown toenails. According to a case-control study involving 46 patients, it was found that patients having ingrown toenails and those without it didn’t have any difference in the anatomic shape of their toenails (Source).
Other factors include repetitive trauma like running, inadvertent trauma (stubbing your toe) or kicking. There is no strict evidence but it is believed that family history and genetic predisposition, poor foot hygiene, and hyperhidrosis are also risk factors that enhance the chances of having ingrown toenails.
Problems like renal disorders, diabetes, cardiac disorder, thyroid and obesity which are likely to predispose for lower extremity edema are also believed to increase the risk.
Adolescents have their feet perspiring more times. This makes the nails and skin softer, thus causing easier splitting. Nail spicules are produced that could pierce the lateral skin.
Spicule formation can turn into a chronic problem in the case of the elderly people. Older persons have limited ability in taking care of their nails because they are most likely to have impaired vision or reduced mobility.
Besides, the process of natural aging also has the toenails to become thicker. This makes it more difficult when it comes to cutting them. They can also create more pressure on the lateral skin on the sides of the nail plate. Thus, the nails can turn ingrown, become infected and get painful.
A 2005 Cochrane Review claimed that post-treatment re-growth rates were 34-50%. Vandenbos and Bowers said in 1959 that patients with this problem are more likely to develop excess amount of tissue on the sides of the affected nail. Their theory was that the weight caused the bulging over of the tissue over the sides of the nail. This caused toenail growth into skin (Source).
Ingrown fingernails are caused by a number of usual causes like injury, improper nail trimming, and nail biting. Just as in toenail, the natural thickness or shape of the nail could increase the risk of ingrown fingernails, at times (Source).
What to Know About Ingrown Toenails Including Risks?
Having diabetes or other conditions that can cause poor blood flow to the feet can also increase the risk of having ingrown toenails (Source). This is why it’s more important to have your diabetes treated.
If you don’t get your ingrown toenail treated, the underlying bone can get infected, causing serious bone infection. It can also become more complicated if you already have diabetes. Accompanied with poor blood flow, it can cause damage to the nerves in the feet too.
This can cause ingrown toenail, callus, corn, scrape, cut or minor foot injuries to not heal effectively and turn infected.
If an open sore like foot ulcer doesn’t heal well, it may even need surgery. Otherwise the tissue can be decayed or may even develop gangrene (tissue death). Gangrene occurs when the blood flow to a specific area of the body is interrupted (Source).
– Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) can occur to people of all age groups. It is a commonly occurring toenail problem. It is associated with pain and can become infected when proper care is not given. They will mostly affect your big toe, but that is not always the case. Other toes may also have them.
– There are 3 types of ingrown toenails. Mild ones can have pain with pressure, erythema, nail fold swelling, and pain. Moderate ones can have ulceration in the nail fold, drainage, swelling, and infection. Severe ones can have granulation and chronic inflammation, and marked nail fold hypertrophy.
– There are many causes of ingrown toenail – cutting your toenails to be too short, not cutting toenails straight across, putting on shoes which crowd your toenails like tight shoes or heels, if your toenails are curved, injury to the toenails, having subungual exostosis, or deformities, or using isotretinoin for treating severe acne.
– Symptoms of ingrown toenail include – the toe can have pain and tenderness on either side, redness around the toenail, infection in the tissue around the toenail, or swelling.
– Homemade remedy for ingrown toenail include washing foot or soaking it, or washing foot using castile soap. You can also use apple cider vinegar to wash your feet. Using dental floss under nail is also helpful. You can also use essential oils to minimize pain and inflammation. Also avoid tight shoes and high heels.
Other included sources linked in The Hearty Soul’s article:
draxe.com – Original Article Source