Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Healing An Ingrown Toenail On Your Own

by Stephen Silva

While ingrown toenails are a fairly common condition, they can quickly become very painful and can even cause walking difficulties. The good news is that there are several things that can be done to treat an ingrown toenail in the comfort of your own home.

Soak in Warm Water

One very effective method to aid in healing an ingrown toenail is to soak your foot in warm water. This can be done several times throughout the day to relieve swelling and tenderness in the toe. You may also choose to sprinkle Epsom salt in the water as it can also help with swelling. Epsom salt contains Magnesium Sulfate and can be found in almost all drug stores.

Take Pain Relievers

Many over-the-counter pain medications can offer some relief from ingrown toenails. Both Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can be taken to relieve pain; however, Ibuprofen is more effective at reducing swelling. If you plan to take pain medications regularly, be sure to alternate between Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen as they are metabolized differently and this will prevent you from taking too much of one or the other.

Use Antibiotic Cream

There are many kinds of antibiotic cream that are available over-the-counter.  Applying one of these creams to the area can be very effective in preventing infection in the toe. Once the cream is applied, wrap the toe in a bandage so that the cream will stay on the area and not cause a mess.

Prop the Edge of the Toenail Up

To help the nail grow properly above the skin, you may find it helpful to prop the ingrown edge up. This should be done with clean pieces of cotton or dental floss. Do not place anything sharp under the edge of the nail as this may cause further irritation.

Wear Open Shoes

If possible, you should wear shoes with an open toe. This will prevent the toenail from growing further into the skin. If it is not possible to wear open-toed shoes, be sure that you wear shoes that fit properly or are even a bit loose in the toe area. Ill-fitting footwear is one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails. 

When to Seek Medical Attention

After trying these remedies and if you do not notice improvement, you should ask a doctor or foot specialist, such as those at Lincoln Park Podiatry. You should also seek their advice if you notice any worsening of symptoms or at the first sign of infection. If you have diabetes, you should speak to a doctor right away as your condition places you at higher risk for complications. 

While ingrown toenails can be very uncomfortable, remember that they are relatively easy to treat even without a doctors help!