Soak ingrown nails

soak ingrown nails

Most ingrown toenails result from clipping them too short. However, some people are also more susceptible to hereditary factors or lifestyle. An ingrown toenail can cause pain and inflammation because the nail grows into the soft flesh, usually on the big toe, at the corner or side. However, ingrown toenails can often be controlled at home, sometimes with the help of warm foot baths, but sometimes medical intervention is required, especially if the toe is infected.

Soak your foot

Prepare a warm foot bath.

There are two reasons you should soak your affected toe/foot in warm water: to relieve the discomfort and soften the toenail so you can trim it more easily or slide something under the nail to relieve the pressure. Get a container that fits your entire foot and fill it with very warm water. You can also add some Epsom salt or Epsom salt as it can reduce pain and swelling. The magnesium in the salt will also help the muscles in your foot relax. Salt has natural antibacterial properties. Other ingredients you can add to the water to help reduce potential inflammation include white vinegar or vinegar essence, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and iodine solution. The warmer the salt bath, the more liquid will be drawn from your toe, which will help reduce the swelling. If you can find, buy, or rent a small foot spa, use it for your foot spa, as the jets will help circulate the water and give you a gentle foot massage.

Bathe your foot and affected toe.

Once the bath water is warm enough and you’ve added the Epsom salts and/or a natural antiseptic additive, submerge your entire foot and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the result, you can repeat this footbath three to five times a day – so don’t throw away the water if you plan to do more footbaths. If you use Epsom salts, you will notice that after 20 minutes, your foot will look shriveled – this means fluid has been drawn out of your foot/toe. Keeping your toes moving during the foot bath stimulates blood circulation. If swelling is the primary problem with your toe, follow the warm salt bath with a cold treatment (ice wrapped in a thin towel) until your toe feels numb (about 10 minutes). Ice helps reduce acute inflammation and numbs the pain.

Massage your toe while bathing.

To relieve the inflammation, you can gently massage the inflamed tissue at intervals during the foot bath. You may notice a little pus or blood from the toe seeping into the water as you massage. This is okay and will likely relieve some of the pressure and pain in your toe. Massage the most inflamed area of ​​your toe with your thumb and forefinger. To do this, start at the outermost point of your toe and massage towards the ankle. Devote about five minutes of bath time to massaging your toes. Much longer massaging could irritate your toe.

Dry your entire foot thoroughly.

Once you’ve finished your warm foot bath and removed your foot, dry it thoroughly with a clean towel. Keeping your toe dry is important because bacteria and other potential pathogens like fungi thrive and grow, especially in humid, warm conditions. After drying your toe/foot, sit down and elevate your leg slightly on a pillow to help the blood drain from your foot. This will help fight the inflammation.

Take care of your toenail after bathing

Apply an antiseptic ointment.

Apply an antiseptic cream, lotion, or ointment to your affected toe at least a few times throughout the day, especially just before bed. Once the cream has absorbed the soft flesh around the inflamed area, wrap the toe in a sterile bandage or bandage. Make sure to change the bandages after each application of the ointment. Some household items that have antibiotic and/or antiseptic properties include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or vinegar essence, baking soda (also known as baking soda or Bullrich salt) dissolved in water, iodine solution, and fresh lemon juice. Remember that most home antiseptic remedies will burn areas of skin already injured by an ingrown toenail. Colloidal silver has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties and does not burn wounds or irritate the skin. It is available at most health food stores and pharmacies.

Slip a piece of cotton or dental floss under the toenail.

After soaking in warm water, your toenail will be soft so that you can slip a small piece of cotton, gauze, or rolled-up dental floss (clean, of course) under the nail. This will cushion the delicate, soft flesh near the nail bed. Gently push back the inflamed skin, lift the toenail with a nail file or something similar, and gently slide the pad under it. Change this pad once a day. It can take a week or two for an ingrown toenail to grow out far enough that it no longer presses into the flesh. Refrain from home surgeries where you attempt to cut away the toenail for pain relief, as this can make the situation worse.

Trim the toenail properly.

Once the toenail has grown out and is long enough to trim, you shouldn’t repeat the same mistakes. Cut your toenail straight and do not cut the nail corners at an angle or rounded. Also, avoid trimming your nails too short, as this irritates your injured toe further. If you go to the podiatrist for nail trimming, ask the podiatrist to trim your nails straight and not too close to the skin. As a guide, you should be able to slip a fingernail under the sides and tip of the toenail. If self-treatment and changing your cutting technique aren’t helping or preventing your ingrown toenail problem, seek advice and/or treatment from your family doctor or a podiatrist.

Assess the condition of your toenail

Determine the cause of the pain.

If your big toe (or another toe) is infected and starting to hurt, take off your socks or pantyhose and take a closer look to determine the cause of the pain. If the condition develops slowly, worsens over several days, and you consistently clip your toenails too short and/or wear tight or narrow shoes, you likely have an ingrown toenail. In most cases, it’s easy to see where the toenail digs or presses into the flesh around the nail bed. Redness and tenderness on one or both sides of the nail and pain and swelling are symptoms to watch out for. Ingrown toenails are common among teenagers and athletes, especially men.

Watch for signs of inflammation.

The worst consequence of an ingrown toenail is a bacterial infection, which can result from breaking the skin around the nail bed. An inflamed toe with an ingrown nail swells even more and is more sensitive. In addition, it feels quite firm and warm; eventually, unpleasant-smelling pus will come out. Because of the heat and swelling, some skin usually peels off, leaving the area looking like an open blister. When you have an infection, swelling occurs because your immune system sends white blood cells to the area to kill the bacteria in the wound (which is good). Sometimes, however, the bacteria spread faster than the immune cells can work. You should see a doctor if the toe inflammation hasn’t gone away within a week and/or spreads beyond the affected toe. Trimming your toenails so that you bevel the corners to follow the rounded shape of your toe will encourage lateral ingrowth of the toenail into the nail fold.

Rule out other common causes of pain.

You should be aware of numerous other painful conditions that you might mistake for an ingrown toenail. Relevant examples include gout (an inflammatory form of arthritis), bunions (a chronic misalignment of the toe leading to a deformity), a broken or dislocated toe, rheumatoid arthritis, necrosis (the death of tissue due to a lack of blood supply), diabetes-related neuropathy, neuromas (benign lumps in the small nerves of the feet) and fungal infections. A gout attack develops quickly, usually within a few hours, and causes severe pain and inflammation in the big toe. Gout is directly related to diet—more specifically, eating purine-rich foods like seafood and offal. Hallux valgus, also known as bunions or bunions, affects the big toe and is mainly caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow and tight for years. Essentially, it’s a chronic sprain of the joint. The typical signs are a crooked toe and stabbing, arthritis-like pain. But even if you’ve stubbed your toe or injured it in some other way, it can trigger the ingrowth of a toenail.


Also, use essential oils (just a few drops) in the foot bath you soak your ingrown toenail in. Lavender and tea tree oil work well and counteract infections. Only wear shoes that fit properly. Otherwise, they will put too much pressure on your toes, which can cause a toenail to grow into the surrounding flesh. Instead of wearing constricting shoes, consider wearing open-toe sandals or flip-flops® until your sore toe has calmed down. Only get new shoes fitted by the shoe shop in the afternoon, as this is when your feet are at their widest — usually because your arches are swollen from the light, steady pressure. If your ingrown toenail needs to be removed by your doctor or a podiatrist, it will take 2-4 months for the nail to grow back fully.