An ingrown toenail is a painful condition where the sharp edge of a toenail cuts into the skin of a toe. The discomfort that this causes interferes with walking. Seek medical treatment at a podiatrist's office immediately if you are diabetic or have vascular disease. Untreated ingrown toenails can lead to complications like infection and amputation. Treating an ingrown toenail is easy and usually painless if you catch it right away.
Soak your ingrown toenail in a basin of warm water mixed with two tablespoons of Epsom or sea salt for five to 10 minutes twice a day. Cut your toenails straight across and flush with the edge of the toe. Do not cut your toenails curved. Use a nail file to buff the edges a bit if the corners are too sharp. Do not cut the toenail too short. Pressure on the foot can push the nail into the skin as it grows. Use a topical antibiotic ointment to prevent infection if the skin is broken.
Check your shoes if you have an ingrown toenail. Your body may be telling you that your shoes are pinching your toes. Ill-fitting shoes can cause ingrown toenails. Wear shoes that have plenty of room for your toes. Keep the shoe heel to less than an inch in height. This will relieve the pressure of walking on your toes. Wear sandals to give your injured toe extra room and air circulation. Contact with the air promotes healing. Take off your shoes when you can to expose your toe to the air.
Protect your toes since a mishap can cause damage. Anytime you loose a toenail, you increase your risk of it becoming an ingrown toenail. Wear steel-toed shoes or boots at work if your job is hazardous to your feet. Do not drag or shuffle your feet when you walk. Walking this way may cause you to stub your toes. Lift your feet when you walk. Do not listen to folk remedies for ingrown toenails that do not make any sense. One folk cure is the cutting of a V shape in the end of the toenail. Since toenails grow from the base, cutting the tip does not affect the way it grows. Another folk cure is the rubbing of coal oil into the cut skin of the ingrown toenail. There is no medical reason to do this, and it may cause an infection to get worse.
- The Home Remedies Bible; Timothy Gower; 2006
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