Skin Diseases 2022

How to treat ingrown toenails at home (and what not to do)

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How to treat ingrown toenails at home (and what not to do)
How to treat ingrown toenails at home (and what not to do)

A slightly ingrown toenail can be treated at home, by trying to lift the corner of the nail and inserting a small piece of cotton or gauze, so that the nail stops growing into the finger and ends up clearing naturally.

However, when the area around the nail becomes very red, swollen and with pus, it may indicate that there is already an infection at the site and, therefore, it is very important that it be evaluated by a he alth professional, like a nurse or podiatrist, who may even recommend applying an antibiotic ointment to relieve symptoms.

How to clear a nail at home

To treat a slightly ingrown and inflamed nail, follow the step-by-step procedure:

  1. Soak the foot or hand of the ingrown toenail in warm or hot water for about 20 minutes;
  2. Try to lift the corner of the nail that is ingrown with tweezers and place a small piece of cotton or gauze between the nail and the skin to keep it elevated, changing daily;
  3. Pass some antiseptic solution such as povidone-iodine, for example, to prevent the area from becoming infected.

If the nail is very ingrown, inflamed or with pus and it is not possible to walk normally, or try to release the nail from the skin, you should look for a nurse, a podiatrist or a dermatologist to remove the nail. Thus, the procedure can be done correctly and without the risk of aggravation such as entry of bacteria, for example.

What not to do

In case of an ingrown toenail, do not cut the part of the ingrown toenail, cut the nail in a "v", or apply a tight bandage. These measures only worsen the ingrown toenail and increase the risk of the ingrown toenail again.

How to treat ingrown with pus

Pused ingrown toenails should always be evaluated by a professional, as in these cases it is usually necessary to use antibiotic ointments to fight the infection and allow healing to take place.

When to go to the doctor

It is advisable to go to the doctor when any of the following situations exist:

  • Having diabetes;
  • The nail is very ingrown, inflamed or filled with pus;
  • The finger is very swollen or if circulation does not seem to be happening.

It is also recommended to seek professional help if there are injuries in the affected region or signs of poor blood circulation.

When surgery is indicated

Surgery for ingrown toenails is indicated in cases where the nails are often ingrown and treatment with nail elevation or cutting does not work, especially if there is spongy flesh at the site.In this case, the surgery is performed under local anesthesia and, in most cases, it is not necessary to remove the entire nail. Depending on the nail to be treated, the doctor may choose to apply an acid, such as silver nitrate, which destroys part of the nail that was ingrown, for example.

How to prevent nails from becoming ingrown

To prevent ingrown toenails, cut them straight, but avoid making the nail too short. In addition, it is also important to wear loose-fitting shoes and change socks daily, as this prevents the proliferation of microorganisms.

See some more tips on how to prevent toenails from getting ingrown.

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