Ingrown toenails can be bothersome at minimum and become infected at worst. Your toenails may actually burrow into the skin when they are clipped too short, or you went with oval-shaped toenails during your pedicure. Poorly fitted shoes are another culprit. Wearing high heels for long periods is a contributing factor, as well as not letting your feet breathe after exercise or long hours standing at work.
Can Self-Treatments Work?
If not already infected, ingrown toenails can usually improve with in-home treatments. Try the following methods:
a) soaking your feet in warm water and Epsom salts (or apple cider vinegar) for 10 minutes, then drying with a soft towel.
b) applying an OTC (over the counter) antibiotic treatment as directed by the manufacturer, and wrap a gauze bandage around the affected area.
c) place tiny bits of cotton soaked in alcohol or waxed dental floss underneath the ingrown edge.
d) look for products at the pharmacy which may help, such as toe protectors and toe braces.
e) only wear shoes which do not put pressure on your toes; sandals are best whenever possible.
Time to Seek Medical Attention!
Without treatment, infections from your ingrown toenails can result in open sores, foot ulcers, or cause interference with blood flow. It’s possible that you could also experience decay and death of tissue at the infection site!
Call your local podiatrist if any of the following effects occur:
1. Home remedies are not working, and your condition is continuing to worsen.
2. You have an auto-immune disease of any type; such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis.
3. You have a circulatory affliction; such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, thrombotic disorders, cardiovascular disease.
4. You’ve had ingrown toenails before.
5. You’re experiencing signs of infection, such as the following:
- increased redness
- increased swelling
- throbbing or shooting pain
- skin is hot to the touch
- green or yellow pus appears
- the area emits a foul odor
If you live or are visiting in the Salt Lake City area, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Elizabeth E. Auger, DPM at (801) 396-9743 for a same-day appointment! Dr. Auger has been practicing podiatry for 18 years and is proud to offer holistic, patient-centered care.