An ingrown toenail is basically when the nail grows into the nail instead of over it. It is a very painful experience for anyone who has gone through the condition.
It commonly affects the big toe and individuals with curved or thick toenails are the most prone to having it. An ingrown toenail requires surgery in most cases. However, there is a way to treat it without surgery.
Jane Andersen, DPM, a podiatrist at Chapel Hill Foot and Ankle Associates in North Carolina, says ingrown toenails are fairly easy to fix. However, she does indicate that there are two exceptions: If you have vascular disease or diabetes. With these two exceptions, you are required to see your physician immediately.
In addition to that, here are the steps to follow when attempting to remove an ingrown toenail without surgery according to Jane Anderson.
#1 Soak Your Feet
Fill up a large bowl or tub with warm water. Add a teaspoon or two of Epsom salts.
Soak your feet in the warm water for at least 20 minutes every day as it helps draw out any fluid that is hidden under the nail. The Epson salts also offer some soothing effect if the toenail is infected.
#2 Stick Something Underneath the Nail
Most people advice against sticking objects underneath your toenail if you have an ingrown toenail. Here, you are advised to do exactly that. Ball up a small piece of cotton wool till its firm enough and stick it underneath the affected nail. The reason for this is to try and lift the nail and force it to grow over the skin.
#3 Apply Ointment
After placing the cotton ball firmly in place, apply some ointment. The purpose of putting ointment is to treat and prevent further infection. Some of the common antibiotics over-the-counter ointments that you can use are Polysporin, Neosporin, and Bactroban. Place a bandage over it and let the healing process take its course.
#4 Preventing Ingrown Toenails
You had before that prevention is better than cure, well, it true. The best way to get rid of an ingrown toenail is to prevent it from happening, according to Georgeanne Botek, DPM. Georgeanne suggests that people ought to cut their toenails evenly and also avoid cutting them too short or deep.
Georgeanne also advices on which kinds of shoes to wear. Shoes and socks worn should be very comfortable and allow you to wiggle your toes.
Georgeanne also advises you to avoid trauma on the toes. Athletes who use their feet to play are advised to go barefoot for an hour or so after every exercise or game.