A toe may seem like such a small thing, but it can cause a lot of problems. If you play a sport like soccer that involves kicking your toes against a ball, or wear a pair of shoes that pinch your toes, you can end up with an irritation caused by an ingrown toenail. This is when the nail starts to grow down or sideways into the surrounding skin and tissue, whereas healthy nails will grow on top of the toe. In time, the nail could become painful, and there is a risk of complications like infection.
How Do I Know My Toenail Is Ingrown?
The first thing you may notice is that the side of your toe—usually the big toe—feels a bit tender. The skin at the edge of the nail may be red and swollen, and if you press on it the pain can be quite intense. The skin may begin to grow over the nail, making it difficult and painful to keep your nail clean.
Treating Ingrown Toenails at Home
There are several things you can do at home to correct an ingrown toenail. The first is to soak it in warm water for 15-20 minutes a few times a day. This softens the skin and relieves some of the pain. While the skin is still soft, maneuver bits of cotton or waxed dental floss under the edge of the nail to help lift it up. You want to encourage it to grow up on top of your toe, not down. Then put a dab of antibiotic cream and a bandage on it to fight infection and keep it clean. Make sure you change the cotton and bandage at least once a day. You should also wear shoes that have plenty of room for your toes to wiggle around and not rub against the sides. Eventually your nail should grow up over the skin and the pain and tenderness should subside.
When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough
If the soreness or redness persists or starts to spread, or you notice any pus or discharge from the area, you need to get medical help. Also, if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or neuropathy, you should take special care to check your feet daily for any sore spots or ingrown toenails.
At Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates, one of our specialties is treating ingrown nails. Dr. James Rust, Dr. Andrew Green, Dr. Dennis McBroom, Dr. Sona Ramdath, Dr. Laura Walton, and Dr. Hilaree Milliron have years of experience dealing with all types of foot ailments. Call the Daytona Beach office at (386) 274-3336, or check our website for our other locations in Port Orange, Palm Coast, Orange City, or Edgewater, Florida. You can trust your toes to us!
Photo Credit: ponsulak via FreeDigitalPhotos.net