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Are you suffering from an ingrown toenail? Have you been wondering if an ingrown toenail goes away on its own?
This article explains all about ingrown toenails and how to treat them. Read on! So, you have been bothered and keep asking repeatedly, can an ingrown toenail fix itself?
No, an ingrown toenail can’t fix itself. In some rare cases, the ingrown toenail eventually grows out and heals on its own. However, that’s not always the case, as an ingrown toenail left unattended can lead to severe complications.
What Is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail is a situation whereby the side or corner of a toenail grows into the flesh, it usually affects the big toe, and it’s recorded that people the diabetes ailment suffer from these complications the most. Even though an ingrown toenail will not fix itself without treatment, it’s possible for it to be treated at home.
Here are some of the symptoms, causes, and products for treating ingrown toenails and ways to avoid them.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are common. In fact, it’s recorded that 90% of people suffer from ingrown toenails at least once in their lifetime. It affects young adults and adolescents mostly. People within this age range have an increasing rate of perspiration, which usually leads to nail fold softening.
Additionally, participating in regular sports can result in the toenails growing into the flesh. Adults are also prone to developing ingrown toenails because the reduced mobility and impaired vision can make it difficult to take care of the nails, which also grow more challenging and thicker with age.
The most typical causes of an ingrown toenail include:
1. Genetics predisposition
Some people have the tendency to inherit and develop ingrown toenails. One of the famous causes of an ingrown toenail is genetics.
2. Nail problems
Losing a nail due to accidents or trauma and fungal infections can lead to the development of an ingrown toenail. Also, multiple nail problems over the years can lead to an ingrown nail.
3. Excessive sweating
When your feet perspire a lot, it can lead to the softening of the nail bed; hence the nail can easily penetrate the skin.
4. Trimming the toenails incorrectly
When trimming the toenails, you’ll need to cut them in a straight line across the nail bed. However, avoid cutting it too short, as bulging tissues might result in inflammation.
5. Using poorly fitting shoes (too tight or too big)
Wearing tight Footwear or narrow shoes can put a lot of pressure on the nail wall, especially when the big toe pushes into the second toe, resulting in an ingrown toenail.
6. Taking part in sports
Sports such as running activities that involve regularly playing football or running might damage toenails and increase the risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Symptoms Of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails can be very painful, and the pain might differ, ranging from severe to mild, and eventually gets worst along the way. Initial symptoms of ingrown toenails may include:
- A visible buildup of fluid around the toenail.
- Redness surrounding the toenail.
- Tenderness or pain along the sides of the toenail.
- The skin around the nail becomes hard or swollen.
- Excess pain when putting pressure on the toenail.
However, you should note that bacteria can infiltrate into the toe, which might lead to infection if the nail is cut into the skin. How to know if your toe is already infected.
Symptoms of an infected toenail
- pus discharge
- tenderness of the skin.
- red, inflamed skin
- Swelling of the toe.
- The skin of the nail fold and eventually grows over the nail.
So, if you notice any symptoms of an ingrown toenail, you should treat it as soon as possible to prevent the symptoms from worsening.
How To Check an Ingrown Toenail
To check for an ingrown toenail, check out for curves downwards into the skin. Also, the skin around the toe might seem it’s growing over the toenail.
Also, a doctor can diagnose an ingrown toenail through physical examination; it’s important to ask for advice from a doctor if the symptoms are getting severe because a lot of different tumors can mimic an ingrown toenail presentation.
Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons stated that people should start treatment for their ingrown toenails as soon as it is noticed.
Treating an ingrown toenail at home can be done by;
- Keep the foot clean and dry at all other times
- soak the foot in warm water at least 3 or 4 times a day
- You could also add Epsom salt to the warm water while soaking.
- You can massage gently the side of the nail fold to reduce swelling.
- Wear comfortable shoes that have enough room for the toes, such as sandals.
- When having pain, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve pain.
Can I Cut Out My Ingrown Toenail?
Yes, you can cut out ingrown toenails yourself, and here is the safe way to do that. Well, If you’ve never had one, count yourself lucky because they can be quite painful and might even lead to a bleeding toe because they pierce back into the skin when they grow long.
How to Cut an Ingrown Toenail
Before proceeding to cut out your ingrown toenail, you’ll first want to look closely at the toe and figure out how severe the case is. Can I cut out my own ingrown toenail?”.
Of course, you should never try out any sort of amputation on yourself, but If it’s a slightly ingrown nail, then you can treat it yourself. So, can you cut out your ingrown nail? Yes! You can cut out your ingrown nail using the right procedures if it’s a MINOR case. However, if it’s severe, we advise you seek help from a doctor who has been trained to handle it.
Cutting out an ingrown toenail is a sensitive task, and when you do it wrongly, it might have adverse effects on your toe, such as the spread of fungus or cut skin.
Below are some steps you can follow to treat a mildly ingrown nail:
1. Firstly, carefully disinfect tweezers, cuticle sticks, nail clippers, and all other tools you use for your pedicure. You can use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide for the disinfection, rub it on them and let them dry.
2. Next, soak and leave your foot in warm water for about 30 minutes. That will help soften the nail and skin around the toe.
3. During the footbath, you can decide to add other essential disinfecting oils to the water, such as tea tree oil, Epsom salt, among others. You might decide to also try out vinegar foot soak.
4. After that, dry out your foot thoroughly with a clean and soft towel.
5. Even though this may feel uncomfortable, massage the skin surrounding the ingrown toenail gently.
6. Then, carefully scrape out the skin around the sides of the nail using a nail cuticle file. This will help get rid of dead skin cells surrounding the ingrown toenail.
If the nail hasn’t sunk into the skin or curled around it, you can be able to change the direction of the toenail. You can do that by causing it to unroll, using a cuticle stick, or your fingernails. To do that:
7. Thoroughly wash your hands clean, and get rid of all the first under your fingernails before touching your feet and afterward.
8. Slowly rise the corner of your toenail and place a small amount of cotton ball under the nail. That will help redirect the nail in a different direction aside from the skin and nail.
9. Put on your size shoes; avoid tight shoes as that will disrupt your cotton ball.
10. Watch and closely monitor your nail growth and replace the cotton when the need arises.
If the area surrounding the nail isn’t infected, then:
- Trim the toenail in a straight pattern across the toenail clipper; make sure to keep the nail long enough to get your fingernail under it.
- Use a tweezer to push a ball of cotton. That creates a space between skin and nails.
- Cut the visible ingrown out, which will help relieve the pain. You can make use of precision toenail clippers.
- Cleanse the area with a good disinfectant.
- Wear open shoes.
What Not To Do to an Ingrown Toenail
A foot care body, The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offered some advice on what not to do with an ingrown. Some of the advice they gave included:
- Never cut a notch along with the nail because it wouldn’t stop it from making a curve downwards into the skin.
- Don’t trim the nail around the borders repeatedly because it can worsen the condition.
- Avoid placing cotton under the nail because it creates a good avenue for bacteria to grow and can create a chance of infection.
- Avoid any over-the-counter ingrown toenail medications. Yes, they may mask the pain to a certain extent, but they do not treat the problem.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, and you are using home care products. If you don’t see it getting better within 2-3 days, you should speak to a doctor. It’s paramount to seek medical attention if you experience any signs of infection.
Anyone who has any medical condition, such as diabetes, poor circulation, or nerve damage in the feet, should see a doctor immediately if they notice an ingrown toenail.
Aftercare of Ingrown Toenail
Doctors will usually prescribe you antibiotics when you are infected with an ingrown toenail. They may also prescribe further treatment, such as a minor surgical procedure, where part of the nail’s side border is taken away.
Doctors perform this sort of surgery under anesthetic, and after the surgery, doctors usually apply a bandage on it and then advise the person to rest until the next day. Also, people say they encounter little or no pain afterward.
The condition is usually tackled if you treat an ingrown toenail without infection taking hold of it. Many people can treat an ingrown toenail at home, and sometimes a treated nail might become ingrown again. If that is the case, a doctor can prescribe a nail root removal process.
How To Prevent an Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenails can be prevented by;
- Wearing socks and shoes that are your size and fit well. Ill-fitting socks and shies can add pressure on the toes, especially when walking fast or running, which can lead to an ingrown toenail.
- Proper trimming of the nails; You should cut your nails in a straight line and be careful not to cut them too short. You should be able to pass your fingernail under the sides and the end of the nail.
- Keep the feet clean and dirt-free.
- Don’t pick the toenails and avoid tearing them away.
An ingrown toenail can be severely painful and can’t fix itself without proper treatment. They occur as a result of the toenail growing into the toe or even when the skin grows over the nail. An Ingrown toenail usually affects the big toe, but it can affect any other toe.
You should note that improper nail trimming, Ill-fitting shoes, and any sort of foot conditions can lead to ingrown toenails. As I have stated above, ingrown toenails wouldn’t fix themselves with any intervention, and people can treat them for a few days.
So use proper nail trimming techniques and use Footwear that gives your toes lots of space to avoid ingrown toenails.
1. Will My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?
2. Do ingrown toenails go away? Home care, causes, and symptoms
3. Ingrown Toenails