Generally speaking, nails are among the parts of our body that add so much glamour to both our outfit and personality. And for those who are mani/pedicure enthusiasts, painting their nails with different shades of nail lacquer seems to be one of the best activities that bring so much delight to them. Well, despite how fascinating nail care and treatment may be, a lot of people (even you) find themselves on the other side of the pond with one major problem to overcome – ingrown toenails.
Sure, this can pose a lot of trouble to you even beyond just making you uncomfortable, and this may keep you wondering or even asking, “can I remove ingrown toenail myself?”
Yes, you can remove ingrown toenails yourself right within the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, ingrown toenails can become infected if not treated right away. Such infection may become very serious, especially when there is poor blood circulation, neuropathy, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses.
Nevertheless, this article will serve as a perfect guide for you on removing and treating ingrown toenails yourself without getting infected and critical red flags that may lead to ingrown toenails you should look out for.
So, please stick around and read on as I unravel this soothing life mystery about removing ingrown toenail as well as bidding it a firm goodbye.
Causes of Ingrown Toenail
Before we dive deep, let’s take a quick look at the root cause of ingrown toenails. In most cases, ingrown toenail arises when the nail is twisted, broken, or growing against external pressure.
For instance, if you wear the same shoes every day and they squeeze your toes or put pressure on the side of your toe and nail. The toenail edge curves down instead of growing straight, pressing inward skin and flesh.
Besides, the above-ingrown toenail can be caused by various factors that put pressure on or damage the nail. These are some of them:
- A fungal or bacterial infection in the nail
- Ripped or damaged nails
- Dry, brittle, or cracked nails
- Deformed or malformed toenails
- Not trimming the nail properly
- Wearing shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or high-heeled
- An ingrown nail might result from stubbing your big toe and injuring your nail
Other causes include chronic illnesses or a lack of minerals necessary for good nail development in your diet. Your risk is further increased if you have a family history of cancer or use certain medications. Nevertheless, an ingrown toenail can be entirely anatomical as it can be caused by the form and size of some areas of your toe.
How to Cut an Ingrown Toenail
You will first want to take a closer look to decide how severely ingrown your nail is. You can often treat a slightly ingrown toenail by yourself, and here are the steps you can follow for cutting a mild ingrown toenail:
1. Disinfect all nail cuticle sticks, clippers, tweezers, and other pedicure tools with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and let dry.
2. To soften the nail and skin on your foot, soak it in warm water for 10 to 30 minutes. To make the footbath more disinfecting, add tea tree oil, Epsom salt, or other disinfecting essential oils. You might also try soaking your feet in vinegar.
3. Using a soft towel, carefully dry your foot and toes.
4. Massage the area around the ingrown toenail gently. This might make you feel slightly uneasy.
5. Gently scrape the skin at the sides of the nail with a cuticle stick or nail file to remove any dead skin cells.
If the area around the nail isn’t infected, for a severe ingrown toenail, do the following;
- Cut your toenail straight across with toenail clippers, leaving at least 1 to 2 millimeters at the white nail end so that you can get your fingernail under it.
- Push a small piece of gauze or cotton into the ingrown corner of your toenail with tweezers. This aids in the separation of the nail from the skin.
- To relieve the pressure and pain, cut away the visible nail corner or ingrown spur. Precision toenail clippers, also called toenail nippers or podiatrist grade clippers can make this process pretty easy.
- To keep safe and disinfect the newly removed ingrown toenail, tea tree oil or another disinfectant can be used to clean the area.
ALSO READ: Can Long Nails Cause Finger Pain?
How To Trim Thick Toenails That May Result to Ingrown Toenails?
If you observe that you have a very thick toenail, that gives you so much tough time trimming. Follow these steps to cut your thick toenails correctly and as a pro;
- To soften your nails, soak your feet in warm water for at least 10 minutes, then thoroughly dry your feet and toenails with a towel.
- To avoid splintering the nail, make short cuts with a nail clipper and cut straight across. Do not round off the corners of the nail to reduce the risk of it becoming ingrown.
- Smooth any snag-prone edges and corners with an emery board.
- If your thicker toenails are causing you discomfort or you don’t think you can safely cut your toenails without assistance, consult your doctor.
How To Cut Fungus-infected Ingrown Toenails?
The steps involved in cutting a fungus-infected ingrown toenail are pretty similar to cutting thick toenails.
However, if you do not cure the fungus, your nails may continue to thicken and may reach a point where you will need to see your nail physician for some guidance.
How to Care For a Fungus-infected Ingrown Toenail After Removal
After nail surgery to remove the fungus-infected ingrown toenail, it is essential to look after your toe and overall health. You want to make sure your toe heals appropriately and prevents infection. After the surgery, you may need to:
- Apply an antibiotic lotion to the affected region twice a day.
- As needed, use some pain-relief medicine as prescribed by your doctor
- If necessary, use a numbing or anti-inflammatory cream.
- Use antibiotics.
- Maintain a clean and dry environment.
- Wear sandals or loose-fitting shoes with exposed toes.
- As needed, change the dressing on your toe daily to avoid re-infection.
- Make follow-up appointments with your doctor.
- For the first two to four weeks after surgery, avoid excessive jogging, running, or walking.
Tips To Keep Ingrown Toenail at Bay
Here are some valuable suggestions and tips you can adopt to avoid ingrown toenails, especially when you sense that you may develop one;
- Peeling or picking at your toenails is not a good idea.
- Cut your toenails in a shallow (sideways) oval shape or straight across.
- Make sure your nails are not too short; the top white area should still be visible. To avoid cutting your toenails too short, file them instead of clipping them.
- Keeping your toenail even with the top section (tip) of your toe is one approach to avoid cutting it too short.
- Maintain a small incline in the corners of your nails. Over-rounding or angling the edges of your toenails into a V-shaped is not recommended.
- Before and after each usage, disinfect cuticle sticks, nail clippers, and other pedicure tools.
- Use the correct instruments; foot experts recommend large nail cutters for the toes—this aids in creating a clean, straight cut.
- Wearing shoes that compressor put too much strain or stress on your toes is likewise a bad idea. This includes narrow or pointy-toed shoes, high heels, and any running, walking, or hiking footwear.
- Look for discoloration or bumpy ridges in your toenails. This could indicate a fungal toe infection. For treatment, see your doctor.
Ingrown Toenails Red Flags To Look Out For
In most cases, you can handle any case of an ingrown toenail. However, if you have a persistent disease or an infection, self-treatment may worsen. An ingrown nail infection can spread to your leg, foot, or entire body.
It is also possible for it to infect the toe bone. Sure, this is what you don’t want to happen. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You keep getting ingrown nails, which do not go away and cause a lot of discomforts
- Have a sore or witness signs of infection anyplace on the feet.
- Have diabetes and other chronic illness that may trigger a case of ingrown toenail
Conclusion – Can I Remove Ingrown Toenail Myself?
Cutting your toenails may appear to be a simple chore, but it can result in damaged skin, ingrown toenails, or the spread of fungus if done incorrectly. To trim your toenails properly, and to remove ingrown toenails yourself, first make a straight cut across the nail, use the right instruments, and clean them completely between use.
If you have toenails that are exceptionally thick or if you have toe-fungus, be extra cautious when trimming them. Talking to your doctor about ingrown toenails can be an easy way to keep ingrown toenails at bay or get rid of them once and for all.