If we wear shoes for a long time, we can have the problem of ingrown nails, in which the nails from one or both the sides start growing out of the nail bed and sometimes even embed into the skin, making wound-like pain.
This condition becomes painful and crucial if, by bad luck, an infection develops in the nails or skin. If not treated properly, a simple nail infection can swiftly lead to further complications.
You can avoid the infection if you take proper care of hygiene and minimize the growth of nails in the wrong direction. Have a look at the following home remedies that will be of great use if you have the issue of ingrown nails.
Effective Ingrown Toenail Home Remedies
1. Soak Your Toes
It would help if you tried this simple remedy to get rid of the pain and stiffness in the nails. Soaking your feet in warm water or any of the solutions mentioned below would give you some relief and soften the skin making it easy to remove the nails grown inside the skin.
Soak your infected foot in warm water treated with Epsom salt, using one teaspoon of salt for each cup of water for 20 minutes. Dry your foot thoroughly using a soft towel.
If your nails have developed an infection, you can use tea tree oil. Add a few drops of organic tea tree oil to a foot bath and soak your feet for 10 minutes. After soaking and carefully drying the feet, massage a few drops of the oil directly into the affected area.
Tea tree oil has properties that help destroy the fungus in seriously infected areas and prevent it from scattering to unaffected areas. Dipping your feet in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes each night should help bring down inflammation so that the nail can grow naturally.
2. Never Pull The Nail Out
Never try to pull the nails out with a blade or something like this. This attempt to do surgery on your own can land you in trouble. You may end up developing a severe infection that can also injure you. The only operation you should perform with your nails is regular trimming.
While trimming your toenails, please get in the habit of cutting them straight. If the corners seem too sharp, it’s okay to file them down a bit but avoid giving too much curve shape.
3. Choose Your Socks Carefully
If you have a problem with ingrown nails, make sure you avoid socks that are colored. Make sure I am talking about any color, light or dark. Only use white socks, preferably made of natural fibers.
The dyes used in coloring the socks may leak down to your toes due to sweat and definitely will create some problem if it reaches there.
Socks made of natural fibers such as cotton and wool help absorb sweat and keep the feet dry. However, some research suggests acrylic socks may do an even better job of keeping feet dry by wicking moisture away from the feet.
4. Choose the Correct Shoes
Tight shoes are one of the significant reasons behind ingrown nails, and hence if you suspect this is the cause, immediately change your shoes. An ingrown toenail may be nature’s way of telling you to shop for new shoes that don’t pinch your toes.
If you’re a woman, avoid high heels; try a lower heel (about one inch high) to relieve the pressure on your toes. Men and women alike should shop for shoes with a roomier toe.
5. Wear Sandals Instead of Shoes
You can go barefoot or have sandals that have proper air passage. If the weather allows, wear open-toed sandals to give your ailing toe extra room and will enable it to breathe. Be it any injury, and your recovery process speeds up if we expose it to direct air and sun.
6. Use Disinfectant Soap
Rather than choosing a beauty soap to wash your feet and hands, use soap with disinfectant properties to kill if a minor infection occurs. It will kill the fungal infection even before experiencing the initial symptoms. The use of soap will also make your feet dry.
7. Use Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is considered to be an antibacterial, antiseptic, and palliative agent, which provides quick relief from pain. Oregano oil mixed with some carrier, like olive oil, can be applied directly on the ingrown toenail thrice a day. Adults can also ingest it by adding a few drops in water or juice or simply putting a drop or two under the tongue.
Read Next: Black Toenail
8. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has its name in all the home remedies for treating different diseases. And it can treat ingrown nails and the infections due to it as well. You can soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of apple cider vinegar.
Take lukewarm water while practicing it, and wash your feet afterward. You can also spray your feet or wipe them down with a cloth soaked in this solution after you shower; make sure you get them completely dry afterward. You can also wipe down the insides of shoes and sandals to help prevent the fungus from clinging there.
9. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong disinfectant and will protect your ingrown nails from infecting the skin. Instead of using hydrogen peroxide, you can even use it in diluted form by making a disinfectant from hydrogen peroxide, water, and baking soda.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in equal amounts, and then add a teaspoon of baking soda to this mixture. It will provide instant relief and heal the discomfort created by ingrown nails in just a few days.
How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails
1. Wear the Right Shoes
Often, ingrown toenails are caused by tight and ill-fitting shoes. Poorly fitting shoes put pressure on the toes and squeeze them together. Pointed shoes are a particular culprit as they push the toes into an unnatural position.
This causes the nail to pierce and grow down into the skin instead of the correct direction. To prevent an ingrown toenail from occurring, it is essential to wear shoes that fit correctly. It’s a good idea to get your feet measured to precisely determine your size. This way you will always wear the right sized shoes.
A good tip for shopping for shoes is to do it in the afternoon. This is because your feet swell a little during the day. If you shop for footwear first thing in the morning, your feet will be at their smallest, and you may buy a pair that won’t fit once the feet have swelled up.
Trying on shoes in the afternoon means that your feet will be at their largest, ensuring that the shoe that fits will not squeeze your feet later on.
2. Trim Your Toenails
It is crucial to trim your toenails to prevent an ingrown toenail from occurring, but it is even more important to trim them the right way. Bad trimming techniques increase the chances of developing an ingrown toenail.
For example, some people cut them too short, which allows the skin to form over them, then the nail grows into the skin. This can also happen if the sides of the nails are cut.
To trim your toenails correctly, you need to cut them straight across. It’s effortless and ensures that the nails will grow in the right direction.
It’s a good idea to cut your nails after a bath or a shower as the nails will be soft and supple, making them easier to trim.
3. Observe Foot Hygiene
Keeping your feet clean is essential to avoid many foot conditions, but it’s vital to prevent ingrown toenails. Hot, dirty feet can become sweaty, making the skin around the toenails soft.
This makes it easier for the nail to pierce the skin and an ingrown toenail to form. Also, if you don’t keep your feet clean, you could develop an infection in the ingrown toenail.
It’s important to wash your feet every day. Make sure you dry them thoroughly, and then apply foot moisturizing cream to keep the skin supple and firm. This will reduce the risk of developing an ingrown toenail and the risk of infection.
There’s no use cleaning your feet and then putting on the same pair of sweaty socks that you’ve been wearing all day. Make sure that you change socks every day, too, and wear socks made from a breathable material, so your feet don’t become too sweaty.
Read: fungal nail infection
4. Manipulate the Skin
If you think you may be in danger of developing an ingrown toenail, or if you want to avoid one, try pushing the skin of your toe away from the nail.
Make sure you do this very carefully using a clean cotton bud. This should help the nail avoid the skin and not allow it to form over it. Using olive oil also helps. Apply it to the cotton bud, then gently push at the skin.
With special attention and some simple home remedies, we can control and modify the growth of nails and even prevent the infection, which is very common but extremely painful in the case of ingrown nails.