An ingrown toenail is a painful condition of the toe. The area is usually red and may be warm; if not treated, it is prone to infection. With bacterial invasion, the nail margin becomes red and swollen often demonstrating drainage or pus.Ingrown toenails happen when the sharp edge of your toenail begins to grow into the skin. It almost always occurs on the big toe, although any toe can be affected.
While many things can cause ingrown toenails, the major causes are shoes that don’t fit well and improperly trimmed nails. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe.
An impacted toenail can first be seen directly after improper grooming of toenails. The nail looks like it has been cut back too far and there is exposure of the pink tissue around the edge.
If you don’t cut your nails correctly, you’ll get ingrown toenails. We try to blame nail cutting for causing ingrown toenails. The poor pedicurists who get thrown under the bus! It can be true, however, that cutting nails improperly can exacerbate ingrown nails.
Other causes of an ingrown toenail include wearing shoes that put pressure on the tips of your toes and cutting your toenails at a downward angle. Wearing shoes that fit properly and trimming your nails straight across may help prevent ingrown toenails from forming in the future.
Another factor that helps in the development of an ingrown toenail is the wearing of very tight fitting shoes. When the footwear is too constricted and the toes are constantly pressed against each other, the toenails will be forced to grow into the flesh. Another cause is related to the improper trimming off your toenails.
The signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
- Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail.
- Redness around your toenail.
- Swelling of your toe around the nail.
- Infection of the tissue around your toenail./
Self-care for ingrown toenails:
Soak your foot in warm water at least four times a day. There is no need to add any antibacterial agents or even any soap to the soaking water. Soak your foot for approximately 20 minutes.
Soak your toe for 15 minutes in Epsom salt and warm water, then cut the nail straight across (do not dig in the corner) and gently massage the skin away from the nail.
There are specially designed ingrown toenail files that make it easy to trim and shape the toenail. These are thin files that can be used to cover the edges and the painful areas of the ingrown toenail.
First soak your feet in warm water with half a cup of Epsom salt and half cup of witch hazel (you could even add a few drops of peppermint oil or lavender), for 30 minutes. Not only is it relaxing, it will help soften your skin for the next step.