Home treatment for ingrown toenails is okay, if there is no infection or the infection is minor, as long as you do not suffer from diabetes or an immunodeficiency disease. If an infection is present, don’t wait too long to see your doctor. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the bone, which can be very serious.
In order to determine whether or not an infection is present, check the area for redness, swelling or discharge. Do not use anything to try and drain the infection. That could lead to blood poisoning.
If the toe feels hot to the touch, then you probably have an infection. You can still try to treat the problem, yourself, as long as you do not attempt to cut out the curved part of the nail or perform any kind of bathroom surgery. Soaking is the way to go.
Soaking two to three times a day, for 15-20 minutes in a warm bath of Epsom salts should reduce pain and swelling. Once the bath is done, dry the area carefully, paying particular attention to the area between the toes.
Soaking in Epsom salts is the most common home treatment for ingrown toenails and is usually effective. After soaking and drying, you can apply an antiseptic or antibiotic cream to reduce the risk of infection or to treat minor infections.
The importance of drying between the toes is to help reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal growth in that warm, damp area. If you have sweaty feet, consider using a foot spray containing zinc chloride. It will help to keep the area dry and further reduce the risk of infection.
Another home treatment for ingrown toenails is to place cotton under the edge of the nail. The cotton separates the nail and the skin. Eventually, the nail should grow over, rather than into the skin. This should only be done if there is no discharge, only redness and pain.
Remember to wear sensible shoes, even after the problem goes away and don’t cut your nails too short. If you have had an ingrown toenail once, you are likely to have one again, unless you make an effort to allow the nails to grow just a little longer.
Be cautious about other suggestions concerning home treatment for ingrown toenails, such as trying to cut out the ingrown section. This kind of home surgery can lead to serious infection.
If you suffer from diabetes or an immunodeficiency, you should consult your doctor as soon as you notice any kind of problem with your feet or toes. Regular inspection of the feet is the only way to insure that there is no infection or injury, which can become serious, quickly in a person that is already in poor health.
Tight fitting socks and shoes are the most common cause of the problem. So, if your home treatment for ingrown toenails is successful, consider asking a podiatrist or other professional about whether or not your shoes fit properly.
Jerome Kaplan has 30 plus years of experience in the foot health products business. He recommends everyone take foot care seriously, because minor problems today can turn into disasters when ignored.