An ingrown toenail (medical name: onychocryptosis) refers to a condition where the edges of the nail develop into the nearby skin, resulting in sensitivity in the affected skin. The big toe is the most affected in many cases, but the condition can affect any other toe.

toenailsTypically, the nail curls inwards and digs into the sin, resulting in tender inflamed skin. Other accompanying symptoms of an ingrown toe nail include pain when one wears shoes,fluid accumulation in he surrounding skin and bleeding. Occasionally, pus will form in the skin, resulting in a sharp pain whenever the skin is touched.

Ingrown toenails are caused by a number of factors which include, but are not limited to improper nail cutting techniques, wearing footwear that is extremely tight as well as those who suffer from sweaty feet. In some cases, the ingrown toenail will result from an injury to the toes such as when you knock your toe against furniture. Depending on the natural shape of the nail, you may also be predisposed to the development of the ingrown nails as curved toenails are likely to grow into the surrounding skin.

Depending on the severity of the condition, you may need to get a medical appointment. There are a number of natural remedies, however, that you can use to ease the pain and hasten the healing process. each of the remedies below works to prevent infection and alleviate the condition. If, however, the skin around the ingrown toenail produces pus, it is important to see a podiatrist (This is a foot care specialist). More importantly, patients suffering from diabetes and nerve damage in the lower body should seek medical attention immediately as both conditions impede quick recovery with potential complications.


1. Epsom Salt Bath:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of Epsom salt, warm water on a foot basin and clean towel.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Epsom salt is the name given to Magnesium Sulphate, one of the most effective home remedies for the treatment of ingrown toenails. The salt works by softening the affected skin around the nail so that over a period of time, it becomes easier to draw the nail. The salt solution also helps soothe the skin, in effect reducing the levels of inflammation. Use this remedy daily until the ingrown toenail heals.

Directions:

  1. Add the Epsom salt to the foot basin and stir to allow for even dissolution.
  2. Put your feet in the basin and soak for 20-30 minutes for each session.
  3. Dry your feet using the clean towel, paying attention to the ingrown toenail as well as the skin between the toes.
  4. Do this at least once daily for speedy healing.

 


2. Hydrogen Peroxide:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of Hydrogen peroxide, foot tub, warm water and clean towel.
Difficulty: Easy

 

One of the most obvious symptoms of an ingrown toenail is pain and inflammation on the affected skin. The use of Hydrogen peroxide aims to relieve this pain and get rid of the inflammation. This remedy also has the benefit of preventing infection by acting as an excellent disinfectant. All you need to do is prepare a foot soak solution by diluting the Hydrogen peroxide as described in the steps below.

Directions:

  1. Place the 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide in the tub and add the water before mixing well.
  2. Soak the foot containing the affected toenail in the Hydrogen peroxide for half an hour.
  3. Remove the foot and dry well.
  4. Use this remedy twice everyday to improve the healing process.

 


3. Warm Salt Water Soak:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of salt, a foot tub, warm water and a clean towel to dry.
Difficulty: Easy

 

As with the remedies mentioned above, the use of warm salty water is meant to prevent the likelihood of an infection while reducing the inflammation at the affected toenail. The warmth of the water is also a great pain reliever, so make the best use of this simple remedy if you suffer from an ingrown toenail. Note that at the onset, you may feel a stinging sensation, but this should subside over the course of the soaking process, and is attributed to the disinfecting properties of the salt present.

Directions:

  1. Place the salt in the foot tub and add the warm water.
  2. Soak your feet in the salty water for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Dry well using the clean towel, making sure you focus on the skin between the toes.
  4. Use this remedy 2-4 times everyday depending on the extent of the ingrown nail.
  5. Follow this up with the steps described in Remedy 4 below.

 


4. Use a Cotton Ball Wedged Below the Affected Toenail :

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Warm foot soak, clean towel, a pair of tweezers and sterile cotton ball. Waxed dental floss (optional substitute for sterile cotton ball).
Difficulty: Easy

 

At the core of this remedy is the need to create more space for the ingrown toenail in order to allow it to grow right above the skin as it should. The best time to do this is immediately after the warm salt water soak when the skin is still warm and the remedy offers pain relief. At the onset of this remedy, you may feel some slight discomfort as you place the cotton ball ( although ordinarily no more than the pain associated with ingrown toenails), but this dissipates, and overall, allows for faster healing. In the absence of the cotton ball, waxed dental floss works just as well in helping the nail grow above the skin edges.

Directions:

  1. Use the warm foot soak for 10 minutes and then dry your feet thoroughly.
  2. Using a pair of tweezers, gently raise the affected nail, taking care not to pull suddenly.
  3. Carefully wedge the sterile cotton ball below the nail. You will feel some slight discomfort, but this clears after a short while. What you need to do is to avoid pushing the ball of cotton wool further beyond the inflamed skin as this is likely to add pressure and increase the pain at the site of the affected toenail.
  4. Remove the cotton ball and replace it every couple of hours to reduce the chances of developing an infection.

 


5. Use Proper Nail Clipping Techniques:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Nail clippers and a nail file. Warm water to soak your feet in (optional).
Difficulty: Easy

 

One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails is improper nail clipping techniques. As a general guide, you must always avoid clipping your nails in a curved manner as the resultant shape creates higher chances that the nail will dig into the skin. Instead, cut them across, in a straight manner. Invest in quality nail clippers and files to avert the chances of developing an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always be cautious to avoid cutting your nails too short.

Directions:

  1. It is advisable to soak your feet in warm water first before clipping them so that they are soft and tender to shape.
  2. Once you have done so, dry your feet well.
  3. Proceed to clip the nails straight across, taking care to avoid curved nails as much as you can.
  4. You will then use the nail file to smooth the edges so that you end up with even ends that are less likely to grow inwards.

 


6. Wear Appropriate Shoes:

Time Required: Varies depending on your schedule.
What You Need: Comfortable shoes that are well-fitting, preferably open-toed footwear where possible.
Difficulty: Easy

 

It is almost obvious that the last thing you should do when you have an ingrown toenail is to wear tight-fitting shoes. Such shoes press the nail inwards and aggravate the condition by adding pressure onto the tender inflamed skin. Choosing well-fitting shoes is one of the simplest ways to speed up the healing process of the ingrown nail. Whenever you can, make sure you wear open-toed shoes to ease the pressure (just make sure you do not knock your foot against objects because this may result in bleeding and/or an infection).

Directions:

  1. Wear comfortable well-fitting shoes and open toed footwear whenever your schedule allows.

 


7. Enjoy a Pedicure Session:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Foot pedicure essentials .
Difficulty: Easy

 

Another simple remedy for dealing with ingrown nails is by enjoying pedicure, at least every week. Prior to doing so, you will get the opportunity to inspect your feet and notice any tenderness, inflammation or fluid accumulation. Once this is done, you will enjoy a foot-soaking session, followed by exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and lastly a massage session to improve blood circulation and keep infections at bay.

Directions:

  1. Soak your feet in the warm water for about 10 minutes to soften the skin and nails prior to using this remedy.
  2. Using your choice products, exfoliate your feet and follow this up with proper nail clipping.
  3. Lastly, massage your feet for some time to ease the pain and encourage blood flow to the affected toenails.

 


8. Lemon Wedges:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Lemon wedge, warm soapy water, cotton towel and bandage.
Difficulty: Easy

 

One of the most effective home remedies you can use for the treatment of an ingrown toenail is a freshly cut slice of lemon. The lemon’s citric acid helps prevent infections from developing in the skin surrounding the affected toenail. The juice soothes the skin and provides relief from the characteristic discomfort associated with ingrown toenails. The lemon wedge is kept in place using a bandage to allow for its healing properties to take root into the affected nails.

Directions:

  1. The first step before using this remedy is to clean your feet using warm soapy water.
  2. Dry your feet making sure you pay attention to the folds between the toes.
  3. Place the lemon wedge right next to the affected toenail and secure it in place using bandage.
  4. Leave the wedge in place for sometime.
  5. Use this remedy as often as you can for quick healing.

 


9. Tea Tree Oil:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Drops of tea tree oil, 1 tablespoon of your choice carrier oil, sterile cotton wool and a bandage.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Tea tree oil is a key home remedy for a number of conditions, including ingrown toenails. The oil’s healing properties can be attributed to its antiseptic nature which plays a key role in managing this condition as it helps reduce the chance of getting an infection. Tea tree oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that ease the discomfort and provide relief from the pain. Since the oil is quite potent, you are advised to use your preferred carrier oil. You may use coconut or olive oil for this purpose.

NOTE: Even with the addition of a carrier oil, some people will still experience irritation. If this happens, you are advised to discontinue the application of the oil and use any of the other remedies provided.

Directions:

  1. Place your preferred carrier oil in a shallow bowl and then add 2 drops of the tea tree oil.
  2. Soak the cotton wool in the oil mixture and use it to apply on the affected toenail.
  3. Wrap the toe using the bandage.
  4. Use this remedy thrice daily until you notice that the toenail has started growing normally.

 


10. Apple Cider Vinegar:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 cups of warm water, cotton wool and foot basin.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Apple cider vinegar (abbreviated as ACV) is also a practical remedy when it comes to the treatment of ingrown toenails. The vinegar’s antiseptic properties work to reduce the chances of developing an infection while its anti-inflammatory traits provide you with relief from the myriad of symptoms. ACV is a simple yet effective remedy. Note that an equivalent amount of warm water is added to the remedy for dilution purposes.

Directions:

  1. Mix equal amounts of the ACV and warm water in the foot basin.
  2. Soak your feet, and pay attention to the affected toenail.
  3. After 20 minutes, dry your feet, and especially the affected toenail to reduce the chances of getting an infection.
  4. Use this remedy daily.

 


In addition to the aforementioned home remedies, there are additional tips that you can make use of to improve the healing process. For instance, avoid wearing socks all the time and allow your feet to ‘breathe’ for faster healing. More importantly, invest on good quality cotton socks whenever you need to wear them.

Ensure that your feet remain dry as often as possible save for when you are soaking your feet using the remedies above. If you are constantly on the move, bandaging the affected toe nail is one of the simple ways to prevent dirt from entering the inflamed skin. Turmeric also works like magic when it comes to ingrown toenails. This is because it cleans the infected skin and eases the pain and discomfort that characterizes the condition. If the remedies do not ease the pain and the infection worsens, make sure you see a podiatrist.