If you’ve ever experienced an ingrown toenail, you know it can be painful and uncomfortable. When an ingrown nail breaks into the skin, bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. In severe cases, its best to consult a health care professional. But there are some things you can do at home to help soothe, heal and prevent ingrown toenails.
1. Soak In A Warm Salt Bath
Soaking your feet in a warm salt bath can help prevent infections caused by ingrown toenails. Soak for about 15 minutes several times a day to relieve pain and swelling associated with sore toes. This can help soften the toenail so you can treat it more effectively.
2. Use Small Pieces Of Cotton
After your toenail has softened from the salt bath, take small pieces of clean gauze or cotton and stuff them between the ingrown toenail and the skin. This will help provide a barrier between the nail and skin, which will allow the nail edge to grow away from it.
3. Carefully Pull The Skin Away
When your toenail is still softened, try lifting your toenail away from your skin using a small nail file, to separate your skin from your toenail. Disinfect the file and place it on the side of the nail that is not ingrown, then work your way toward the edge that is ingrown, carefully pulling your toenail away from your skin.
4. Wear Shoes That Fit Properly
Shoes that are too tight can place pressure the sides of your toes, causing an ingrown nail. It’s important to wear the right shoes in order to prevent ingrown toenails. They should be a comfortable fit, made of soft materials and have plenty of room around the sides of your toes.
5. Trim Your Toenails Straight Across
When it comes to maintaining healthy toenails, trimming is important. To properly trim your toenails, always use clean nail clippers and cut your nails straight across. Don’t curve the corners of your nails!
6. Cut Your Toenails To The Proper Length
Cutting your toenails too short can put you at risk for ingrown nails. Remember to leave your toenails a little longer when you trim them, so that they are less likely to grow into the skin. Nails that are too short can end up growing straight into your skin!
7. Practice Good Hygiene
Keeping your feet clean and healthy can help prevent ingrown toenails and infections. Regularly soak your feet in soapy water for 10 minutes, then gently remove calluses with a pumice stone or an emery board. Try foot massages to relieve pain or tension in your feet, and remember to keep your skin moisturized!
8. Check Your Feet For Warning Signs
Pay attention to your feet in order to spot ingrown toenails, infections and other health issues. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are known to develop food complications. This can include loss of feeling, calluses and ulcers. Dry, flaky feet can be a sign of a thyroid issue, while a sudden high arch in the foot may indicate nerve damage.