If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know the horrible pain that it can cause. Not only that, but it’s very annoying! We use our toes as part of our usual daily movement, and this use and constant knocking seems to irritate the nail even more. It makes the pain more noticeable and seems to last forever! An ingrown toenail may occur at any age and is one of the mostly common toenail problems. It can be a painful condition that can easily become infected without proper care. While more studies need to be conducted, there are a few that suggest a slightly higher male-to-female ratio, particularly in the 14–25 age groups. However, it can affect people of any age.
What causes ingrown toenails?
An imbalance between the size of the nail and the enlargement of the nail skin edge causes ingrown toenails. This condition can be exacerbated by improper trimming of the toenail, an inherited or hereditary condition, and improper shoe fitting and more. Injury by overly aggressive pedicures and nail picking are also common causes. Some people's toenails naturally curl inward. These toenails can easily become painful. Adolescents and athletes perspire more often. This causes nails and skin to be soft. The thin nail can eventually split and pierce the softened skin.
Ingrown Toenail Removal
The good news is there are natural ways to treat an ingrown toenail. Here’s how:
1. Soak or Wash the Foot
Soaking the foot in warm water can be beneficial in helping keep the area clean and free of bacteria. Soak the foot in warm water three to four times per day. You can add Epsom salt to the water to soften the skin of the affected area, which could make it easier to draw out the toenail from the skin.
2. Wash with Castile Soap
Washing the foot and offending nail twice a day with soap and water is also a great solution. You may want to consider Castile soap due to its natural and pure ingredients. Make sure to keep the foot clean and dry.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Wash
Apple cider vinegar can help as a natural treatment for an ingrown toenail. You can try adding a quarter cup of vinegar to warm water for a foot soak or direct application of apple cider vinegar that has been diluted with purified water, which conditions ingrown nails to fight bacteria that may try to form.
Home Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail
The following home remedies may provide temporary relief.
- Lukewarm water foot soaks for 15-20 minutes with any one of the following options can be helpful: one part white vinegar to four parts water; 2 tablespoons Epsom salts per quart of water; or a dilute Clorox type bleach with 1/3 teaspoon of Clorox in 1 gallon of water.
- Elevate the foot and leg.
- Take oral anti-inflammatory medications.
- Apply antibacterial ointments on the affected side of the nail.
- Trim the toenail straight across the top without digging into the corners
- Wait for the nail to outgrow while attempting any one of the above methods.
An ingrown toenail may occur at any age and is one of the most common toenail problems. It can be a painful condition that can become infected if not properly cared for. Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe, though other toes can also be affected. To get rid of an ingrown toenail at home, you can soak or wash the foot, wash with Castile soap, try an apple cider vinegar wash, use dental floss under the nail, avoid high heels and tight shoes, and use essentials oils to help reduce inflammation and pain.