Ingrown toe nail or otherwise known as onychocrytosis can be very painful and discomforting condition. Moreover, it is very difficult to treat. The common activities like wearing shoes and walking can become quite a painful issues and it can easily lead to infection which spreads very fast.
This can happen to anyone and it is a condition when the toenail begins to curl inwards thus starting to grow in the sides of the toe going inside of it instead of going flat above it. As a result of this the skin tears beneath the nail where the bacteria can spread rather easily.
However, there are more factors to this occurrence like the following ones:
- Thickening of the nail plate
- Using acne medicine – isotretinoin
- Strange formation of the toenails
- Some toe defects like hallux valgus
This condition is easily recognized due to the pain which is caused when the nail enters the skin. Furthermore, the ingrown nail will also cause soreness and swelling on the affected part of the toe. This condition actually shows three phases, like these ones:
- Stage 1: In this phase you are still dealing with a mild condition manifested by nail-fold swelling, erythema, edema and feeling pain when pressure is applied.
- Stage 2: Now it will manifest with extensive swelling, infection, drainage, and ulcer.
- Stage 3: This is the most critical phase as it becomes a serious, health problem manifested by chronic swelling and nail- fold hypertrophy.
We divided this condition in three stages because depending in which stage your ingrown nail it is there is a difference in treatment. Namely, in the first phase the ingrown nail can be easily treated in the comfort of your home, which is not the case with the second and third where you will need medical attention meaning that you will need a surgery and also you will need medications.
Natural Ways of Treating Ingrown Nail
There are natural and easy solutions for this matter which are not time consuming and are very efficient. Yet, if you are a diabetic or suffer from other health condition which can lead to neuropathy or that can cause harm to your nervous system, then you should consult your doctor before using some of these homemade natural solutions.
- Epsom Salt bathThis bath is very efficient for this issue as thanks to its powerful properties you will clean your nail from the presence of any bacteria. All you have to do is to soak your foot in a warm bath with Epsom salt. Soak your foot in this bath for 15 minutes a few times a day, which will make your nail softer and it will decrease the pressure on the skin. After you have finished with this bath, your feet must be dry in order to use Band-Aid on the toe nail for the entire day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV WashACV can help you in the prevention of the fungal infection. For that purpose you need to use ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in a warm bath. Likewise, you can use some diluted apple cider vinegar and use it on the skin around the toe nail.
- Castile Soap SoakPrepare a warm bath with castile soap which will help you against any infection. In order to achieve this you should soak your foot in this bath twice a day.
- Floss and CottonThis method is used after you have finished with the bath and involves placing a little piece of unflavored dental floss below the corner of the nail. After that you need to start pulling it up gently in order to lower the pressure. Make sure to be extra careful when doing this method so that you do not cause another injury.
You can also put some sterilized gauze little bit under the nail so that it does not touch the skin and make it grow on the right position.
This method needs to be done after every bath and each time you must use new gauze. In the end, wrap your toe into plaster or medical tape. This will stabilize your nail in 2 weeks.
- Essential OilsEssential oils can be of great help for this issue and because of that you can prepare the following lotion recipe:
- 5 drops of eucalyptus
- 5 drops of tea tree
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 2 drops of peppermint oil
- 1 drop of oregano oil
- 2 oz. aloe Vera gel
- 2 oz. coconut oil
Preparation: Mix all of the ingredients and you will have a ready ointment.
Use: Massage it on the afflicted toe which has been previously soaked and dried. Keep the mixture in a glass jar and then use it for 2 to 3 times a day. Finally, put a Band-Aid over the affected area.
This lotion will help you to reduce the pain and the inflammation.
- Wear comfortable shoes!Tight shoes or for that matter high heels can make additional pressure on the toes thereby pushing the nail deeper in the toe causing great pain and discomfort. Therefore, if you are dealing with this condition you should avoid wearing these types of shoes and while you are treating the ingrown nail make sure to wear sandals or flat shoes.
Eliminate the pain by using the following methods:
- Soothe your pain by soaking your foot in a solution made of Epsom salt, castile soap or apple cider vinegar.
- Reduce the pressure by elevating the nail from the skin by using disinfect nail file or fresh floss.
- Put some diluted apple cider vinegar or hydrogen peroxide under the nail.
- Lift the nail by using gauze under the nail edge.
- Apply antibiotic cream on the skin around the nail.
- Use loose bandage around the toe, however do not cause any additional pressure.
- Proper foot wear is very important for the healing process to be successful, therefore wear sandals till you improve the condition of your toe.
- Perform this treatment daily till the toe is healed.
You can prevent the occurrence of this condition by trimming your nails properly, meaning in straight line. Pay attention to your feet hygiene, and make sure always to wash your feet after work or exercising and then properly dry them out. Lastly, avoid wearing high heels and tight shoes while you are dealing with this issue. However, if this condition happens frequently, then you need to go to a podiatric doctor.