Ingrown nail is the more common term for the nail disease called onychocryptosis. This painful condition most often affects the big toe, when one or both sides of the nail press into the adjacent skin or the nail bed leading to inflammation. Unless early measures and proper care are taken, an ingrown toenail can lead to infection, in which case the affected toe or the base of the nail becomes swollen red, often times with pus and watery discharged tinged with blood. Read on to learn how to treat a mild case of ingrown nail with home remedies.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wedge of lemon
- 1 tablespoon Epsom salt
- 2 gallons warm water
- Hydrogen peroxide or iodine
- Gauze or breathable band aid
Place a little wedge of lemon against the toe and secure it with a band aid or gauze bandage. Pull on a sock to better secure the lemon wedge.
Leave the wedge on your toe overnight. This will help to soften the skin so as to release the nail.
Lift the embedded nail gently the next morning. Roll us some cotton into a cigar-shape and insert this between the nail and the skin. Change this everyday until the nail is healed.
Pour the warm water into a basin and dissolve the Epsom salts in it. Soak your affected foot for 15 to 30 minutes in the warm, salty water. Do this at least two to three times a day.
Pat the toe dry and keep it as dry as possible all day. Apply some hydrogen peroxide to the ingrown toenail and the surrounding skin. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic, well suited for minor infections. You can substitute it with iodine instead.
Cover the toe with gauze or a bandage to keep bacteria from spreading and thus minimise the risk of further infection.
Avoid high-heeled shoes, if you must wear shoes, in favour of low heeled shoes with wider, roomier tips. Wear white socks only. The dye in coloured socks and other hosiery may run and come into contact with the wound, causing further complications.
Trim your nails correctly. Cut your toe nails across rather than curved. You may file the sharp edges if necessary. Do not cut the nail shorter than the toe, but rather flush with the tip of your toe. This prevents your toe from growing into the skin as your body weight applies pressure on your foot.
Go barefoot, as much as possible, rather than wear shoes or socks. This allows a free flow of air, which will help to keep bacteria from growing further. Bacteria increases rapidly in a damp and warm environment, thus wearing closed shoe on the affected toe is not recommended.
Tips and warnings
- Home remedies should only be used for mild cases of ingrown nails. Where the condition is already severe, professional treatment must be sought. Usually, watery discharge and drainage of blood and pus call for medical treatment by a podiatrist. Waiting far too long to have an infected ingrown toenail treated professionally by an expert can lead to hazardous complications.