An ingrown toenail is a health condition that has affected almost every adult from all over the world. It is a common toe disease where the side edges of the toenail grow into the soft flesh of the toe.
This condition is also known as unguis incarnates. Ingrown toenail condition results in pain, irritation, and swelling of the infected toe. In most cases, the “thumb” of the foot is mostly affected by the condition.
What causes ingrown toenails
#Poor Footwear: The main cause of ingrown toenails is poor footwear. Foot wears that accumulate a lot of pressure on the soft flesh of the toe may cause the skin can be torn by the toenail as it is pressed into the toenail. These wares may include tight-fitting shoes, socks, tights, and stockings which result in ingrown toenail infections.
#Injuries on the Toe: If you drop something heavy and hard on your toe to cause damage to it, it may create room for the toenail to develop inside the wound. As the wound heals, the toenail is covered by the soft flesh of the would which leads to ingrown toenails.
#Badly Cut and Trimmed Nails: If the nail is cut and edges are not well trimmed it may result in the development of ingrown toenails. If the toenails are cut too short, the flesh will cover it and the toenail will grow into the flesh around it.
#Poor Foot Hygiene: Poor foot hygiene is another critical cause of ingrown toenail. Excessive sweating of the foot which can be natural as a result of genetics and heredity factors, leaves the toes warm and moist, creating higher chances of the toenails growing into the flesh.
People born with concave-shaped toenails are also prone to ingrown toenails. Inwardly curved toenails force themselves into the soft flesh around them.
Ingrown Toenail on Big Toe
The big toe is the frequent victim of Ingrown toenails. This is a result of its big size which makes it vulnerable to ingrown toenails. Its position on the edge of the foot also puts it in a position of rubbing against most of the footwear such as shoes and socks. However, ingrown toenail does not necessarily affect the big toe only. Every toe has the possibility of getting infected with the ingrown toenail.
How to get rid of an ingrown toenail
If the condition has not infected or if the ingrown toenail is detected before causing damage to the toe and infecting it, the ingrown toenail can be handled at home. The process is very cheap and does not require any knowledge of medicine or first aid.
- Soak the infected foot in warm salt water about 3 to 4 times a day.
- Immediately after removing from the water, use a soft material to dry the infected part.
- Gently and carefully, push away the skin around the ingrown toenail using a soft piece of cotton wool.
- Put a small wet piece of cotton under the skin to prevent it from retracting and covering the toenail.
- Repeat this process daily until the toe returns to normal condition.
Consider wearing shoes that do not exert pressure on the toes. Sandals are highly recommended until full recovery of the toe. Moreover, if this does not work or if the toe is already infected when noted, it is advisable to see a doctor for help in this case.
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Infected Ingrown Toenail
Many people have ignored the Ingrown toenail as a disease like the others and most of the time is assumed to be just a minor problem. However, it is to be known that ingrown toenails can lead to infection if not treated in the early stages. An ingrown toenail is referred to as infection if the following symptoms are observed:
- Pain in the affected area
- Bleeding in the infected area.
- The red Swollen Skin around the toe.
- Overgrowth of the flesh around the toenail.
- Pus coming from the toe.
At this stage, treatment cannot be carried out or attempted at home. A specialist (podiatrist) should be consulted immediately for the necessary professional treatment. These symptoms cannot be ignored in any case since they can lead to serious damage to the whole toe and foot.
How to get an ingrown toenail out
The process in which the ingrown toenail is removed is known as avulsion and can only be done by a specialist such as a podiatrist. This is because it requires careful study of the toe and application of surgery knowledge. Any attempts of removing the Ingrown toenail without specialist guidance can lead to permanent damage to the foot and the body in general. The doctor will first apply an anesthetic to numb the foot. Sometimes if the condition is worse general body numbness can be done. Once the pain is gone, the doctor will assess the damage and decide which operation to undertake. It can be partial or total avulsion.
Partial avulsion involves the doctor removing some part of the ingrown toenails permanently. Total avulsion involves removing the whole toenail and is only done if the ingrown toenail is persistent even after treatment.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Fungi are normally present in and on the body alongside various bacteria. Fungus tends to increase in conditions such as a weakened immune system, poor hygiene, and continuous exposure to a moist environment. If a person has either of these conditions they are likely to have toenail fungus.
If left untreated the toenail fungus leads to infections. Toenail fungal infections are the abnormal change in the toenail making it thick, 1: discolored, and more likely to crack and break. At the early stages, the toenail fungal infection is not painful and it’s is mostly ignored. Toenail fungal infection occurs due to the overgrowth of fungi in, over, or under the nail.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
“Fungal infections cause about half of all nail disorders.4 They are more common in toenails because the toes are confined in a warm, moist, weight-bearing environment.”
Where they’re in a warm, moist environment. Diseases that cause poor circulation of blood, diabetes, nail injuries, and people over 65 years are at a high chance of contracting fungal infections.
Home remedies for toenail fungus
If the toenail fungus is discovered early enough, it is possible to take care of it at home. You can use various methods.
#Step 1: Trim and thin the toenail
This helps to reduce pain on the toe and also paves a way to treatment with others means.
#Step 2: Antifungal Nail Creams
Apply over-counter Antifungal nail creams. Clean up the toe and dry it up. Trim and remove the outer part of the toenail to ensure the cream reaches the furthest part of the infected toe.
#Step 3: Applying Vinegar
Vinegar contains an acidic ph that spreads inside the toenail attacking the fungus. Soak the infected toe into a mixture of water and vinegar.
#Step 4: Baking Soda
The common readily available baking soda in the kitchen can cure toenail fungus. Mix one-half of baking soda with one-quarter of hydrogen peroxide in water and soak the foot for not less than 10 minutes.
Ensure you keep your feet dry and avoid wearing tight footwear. This creates a good environment for the fungus to multiply and infect the toe. If the home remedies do not heal the toenail fungal infection, it is advisable to see the doctor for further and better treatment.