Most people don't give a second thought to their feet on a daily basis. They take for granted that their feet will get them from point A to point B with no trouble or problem. However, when you wake up one morning with pain in one of your toes, you may find yourself dealing with an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails are quite common afflictions and most people will have at least one in their lifetime. If you currently have an ingrown toenail, get to know some of the things you should and shouldn't do when dealing with it. Then, you can be sure that your toe heals as soon as possible.
Do Not Try to Cut It Out Yourself
It is natural that you may want to try to handle your ingrown toenail on your own. However, there are certain things you can do as home care and others that you most definitely should not. Cutting out the ingrown toenail is one of those things you definitely should not do.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail starts to grow into the skin of the toe. This causes the wound and the pain you experience. It can be quite difficult to get all of the ingrown portion of the nail out with simple nail clippers on your own. Your view of your toenail is not the best and the ingrown portion of the nail could be quite low in the nail bed, making it tough to reach.
Trying to cut the ingrown toenail out yourself can cause further injury, can leave a piece of nail embedded in the skin, and can even result in an infection. Overall, it is a bad idea to cut out the nail at home on your own. Instead, you should go to your family medicine doctor to take a look at it. They can actually cut away a portion of the toenail or remove the entire toenail if necessary to ensure that the issue does not continue or recur.
Do Soak Your Foot Regularly
When your toenail is ingrown, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to soak your foot regularly. Two or three times a day, place your affected foot in a bath of warm water and Epsom salt.
The warm water is soothing and helps with pain. Epsom salts help to soften the nail so that the pain is less severe as well. It also reduces swelling and inflammation that occurs along with the ingrown toenail. These salts can even help to treat any infection that might have developed in your toe.
Soak your toe for at least 15 to 20 minutes each time. Then, thoroughly dry your foot and apply antibiotic ointment to it and cover it with a gauze pad or bandage. This will protect your toe as well as prevent/treat an infection.
Now that you know some of the things you should and shouldn't do when you have an ingrown toenail, you can be sure that you can heal as quickly and effectively as possible.