Ingrown toenail is a common cause of foot pain, which can be unbearable. A problem that occurs when the sharp edge of the big toe nail begins to grow inward, penetrating the skin on the side of the toe.
Ingrown toenails are common in people who wear closed shoes for long periods of time. Pressure on the toes and nails from ill-fitting shoes, combined with moisture from perspiration, is the perfect combination to cause toenail problems.
The different factors that cause ingrown toenails
However, the number one cause of ingrown toenails is probably the wrong way to cut them. When you cut your nails, avoid rounding the edges. Cut them rather straight. Also avoid cutting them too short. Other causes of ingrown toenails include:
- A fungal or bacterial infection
- genetic diseases
- Malformed fingernails
- An injury (an object falling on your toe, a shock against furniture, or even while playing football, for example)
At first, you will usually notice redness around the nail as well as pain when wearing shoes that press on the affected part. Over time, the pain increases and the inflammation progresses. The infected part may end up bleeding and/or pus may start to ooze out. In severe cases, you may have a fever.
Natural remedies for ingrown toenails
Most remedies require soaking your foot regularly to soften the infected part and promote healing. Several topical remedies can also be applied to treat the infection.
To make a foot bath, you have the choice between the following products, mixed with water. Soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes, between four times a week and twice a day, and dry your feet well afterwards:
- Mild soap
- Epsom salt (about 1 tablespoon for a small basin of hot water)
- Hydrogen peroxide (count about half a cup of hydrogen peroxide for a small basin of hot water)
- Apple cider vinegar (50/50 mixture of vinegar and water)
To put directly on the painful place
When applied topically, the following products may help treat infection and pain:
– Oregano essential oil: its antibacterial and antiseptic activity makes it an effective painkiller. However, this oil is highly irritating to the skin, so be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil or olive oil before applying it to the affected part.
– Lemon: cut a thin slice of lemon and hold it on the painful toe with a bandage. Keep it overnight to speed healing
– Turmeric paste: To make the paste, mix half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of mustard oil. Apply the paste to the affected part and cover with a bandage. Repeat two or three times a day for several days
What to do to prevent ingrown toenails
It is possible to prevent ingrown toenails by trimming your toenails properly. Be sure to cut them straight. Avoid rounding the corners. Also avoid cutting them too short. If cut correctly, it prevents the nail from curving and pushing into the flesh of the toe on one or both sides, causing pain and infection.
Excessive pressure from shoes that are too small can also contribute to ingrown toenails, so avoid shoes that are too tight. Also choose good quality cotton socks when wearing closed shoes, to prevent excessive moisture build-up. If you have an ingrown toenail, consider wearing sandals until the problem is fixed.