We can all agree that ingrown toenails are no laughing matter. When they occur, they can be rather painful to endure along with the redness and swelling that often follows. While these most likely form in our big toes, it is possible for them to happen in all of our toes. Ingrown toenails form when the corner or edge of the toenail curves, growing into the skin that surrounds the nail. They are caused by trauma (such as stubbing your toe), wearing tight shoes, and cutting nails too short or at an angle. Mild forms of ingrown toenails are most often treated at home while the more serious cases require surgical assistance. If one forms, it is important to treat it as soon as possible to stop an infection from occurring. Here are five ways you can help relieve the pain of ingrown toenails from home.
- Soak the foot with the affected toenail in warm, soapy water for up to three times a day, 20 minutes each soak. Castile soap and Epsom salts are great at providing additional relief.
- Another option for soaking is apple cider vinegar, which has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving abilities. Fill a basin with warm water and add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. Soak for up to 20 minutes and dry with a clean towel thoroughly afterward.
- Insert small portions of waxed dental floss or cotton underneath the affected toenail. This helps the nail grow properly. Before applying, however, soak the cotton or floss in alcohol to prevent bacteria from growing under the nail.
- Apply antibiotic ointment from your local drugstore up to three times daily to help reduce the risk of infection and bandage the nail after application.
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks during the day, as tight shoes and socks can make the pain worse. In fact, this is the leading cause of the formation of ingrown toenails. If you already have ingrown toenails, try to wear sandals or open-toe shoes as much as possible until the nail is healed.