Home Care for an Ingrown Toenail

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Ingrown toenails can be quite painful. By definition, this common condition, occurs when the corner or side of one of your toenails grows into the soft flesh of that toe. If allowed to progress, the resulting pain and redness can turn proceed to increased swelling and sometimes infection. Most often the toe involved is big toe.

Anyone with diabetes or circulation problems are at greater risk of complications from an ingrown toenail. Do not hesitate to be seen by your physician if you have diabetes or a foot circulation problem and develop an ingrown toenail.

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Common causes of ingrown toenails include wearing shoes that crowd your toenails, cutting your toenails too short or not straight across, injury to your toenail, and unusually curved toenails.

It is important to began care of an ingrown toenail as soon as it's recognized. Home care suggestions include:

  • Soak the foot in warm water three or four times each day.
  • When not soaking, make sure the foot is clean and dry.
  • Wear open-toed sandals or similar while the condition heals. Otherwise, opt for comfortable shoes that don't squeeze the toes.
  • Carefully wedge a small piece of clean cotton or waxed dental floss between the skin and the toenail. Be sure to change this packing daily.
  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • You should start to see improvement within two or three days. If you don't, contact your doctor.

To prevent ingrown toenails, remember the common causes and try to avoid them. It is important to wear shoe that fit properly and don’t pinch. It is important to trim your toenails straight across. It is important to protect your toes from injury, so wear steel-toed shoes if needed.

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