What to Do About an Ingrown Toenail: 2 Common Questions Answered

ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail might be a common and minor medical condition, but it can still cause us so much discomfort and pain. Sometimes the ingrown nail will dislodge from your skin on its own, but other times you’ll need to do more to ensure the situation doesn’t get worse. Let’s take a look at what causes an ingrown toenail and what you may need to do to remedy the pain.

What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

  • Stubbing your toe can cause a nail to dig and grow into the surrounding skin.
  • Tight shoes can push your toenails into the surrounding skin.
  • How you cut your toenails can determine how they grow. Cutting toenails too short can cause them to grow back at an awkward angle. Cutting your nails at certain angles can also cause the nail to grow into the skin.

How Can I Relieve the Pain from an Ingrown Toenail?

  • SOAK YOUR TOE: Try soaking your toe for twenty minutes in warm, soapy water for pain relief. You can also try adding epsom salt for its anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties or apple cider vinegar for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving abilities.
  • CHOOSE COMFORTABLE SHOES OR WEAR A TOE PROTECTOR: Try to relieve any pressure and minimize rubbing of the affected toe by choosing comfortable shoes to wear. Improperly fitting shoes are actually the #1 cause of ingrown toenails. If you can get away with wearing flip flops or other shoes that allow your toe some breathing room, then do it. If you have to wear closed-toe shoes, you can find toe protectors that create space around the affected area or cover the entire toe.
  • USE A TOPICAL ANTIBIOTIC: Apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin, Polysporin, or Bactroban three times daily to prevent infections that can lead to more discomfort. Wrap a bandage around the toenail after applying the ointment.
  • SEE A DOCTOR: If you have any worrisome symptoms like unbearable pain, unusual swelling, pus, odor, or warmth in the affected toe and its surrounding area, have a doctor take a look. An emergency room can remove ingrown toenails if necessary.

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