Ingrown toenails can be both painful and a pain. But relief is possible!
First, it’s important to know that there are 3 stages of an ingrown toenail:
3 Stages of an Ingrown Toenail
- Stage 1-Mild – swelling, redness, fluid, or pain with pressure around the toe
- Stage 2-Moderate – increased swelling, ulcer forming, drainage, or possible infection around the toe
- Stage 3-Severe – chronic heat and swelling, red or pink blood vessels forming, enlarged toe
During Stage 1, there are at-home treatments you can do yourself. Once an ingrown toenail reaches the moderate stage, you’ll need medical attention from a podiatrist.
What can you do for an ingrown nail?
What To Do During The Mild Stage
- Avoid Tight Shoes or Heeled Shoes- These shoes create extra pressure on the toe which can lead to more pain and delay the healing time of the ingrown toenail. Try wearing open-toed shoes without socks or shoes that offer plenty of “wiggle” room.
- Foot Soak- Keep the foot and ingrown nail area clean and bacteria-free by soaking in a mixture of warm water and soap or apple cider vinegar several times a day. Add Epsom salt to soften the foot, helping the toenail separate from the skin around it. Be sure to dry the foot thoroughly after soaking and keep it dry throughout the day.
- Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils- Create an essential oil rub for the area by combining tea tree and eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic, killing fungus, bacteria, and preventing infection. Eucalyptus oil treats inflammation and pain and can ward off infections, allowing your toe to heal quicker. Apply your carrier oil to a cotton ball, add 2 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus, and apply to the area.
- Consult a Podiatrist- If you don’t feel comfortable with at-home treatments, or if you are not able to provide these treatments for yourself, consult a podiatrist. And if your ingrown toenail does not seem to get better within a few days, you might go ahead and consult a podiatrist during the mild stage.
What To Do During The Moderate or Severe Stage
- Consult a Podiatrist- Once your ingrown nail has reached stage 2 or 3, you will need to consult with a podiatrist immediately. A podiatrist can evaluate your toe to determine the medical next steps needed. At-home podiatry visits are available if needed.
What Caused My Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail can occur at any age and is a common foot issue.
Ingrown Toenail Causes could be:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight
- Cutting the nails incorrectly (should cut straight across)
- Injury to the toe or nail
- Shape or thickness of the nail