If you ever suffered from an ingrown toenail, then you know that it’s not only super painful, it’s also hard to cure. Everyday activities like walking and putting on shoes can disturb your toe and have you screaming in pain. Worst of all, it can also lead to an infection that can quickly get out of hand.
When Your Nail isn’t Growing Properly
Onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) is a common condition that can affect people of any age. It occurs when the toenail curls slightly inwards and the sides begin to grow into the toe instead of sitting flat above it. This leads to tears in the skin under the nail that can easily become infected with bacteria of fungi (1,2). Ingrown toenails are typically caused by improper nail cutting technique, tight-fitting footwear, or trauma to the toe (3).
Less common causes include:
- Thickening of the nail plate
- Oddly shaped toenails
- Hallux valgus or other toe deformities,
- Subungual exostosis
- Taking isotretinoin (an acne drug)
Ingrown toenails are pretty easy to spot. As the nail digs into the skin, you may feel pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail. This is usually accompanied by swelling and redness around the affected area.
Ingrown toenails occur in three stages (4):
- Stage 1 is a mild condition characterized by nail-fold swelling, erythema, edema and pain with pressure.
- Stage 2 is moderate and is associated with increased swelling, drainage, infection and ulceration of the nail.
- Stage 3 is a severe health problem characterized by chronic inflammation and nail-fold hypertrophy.
Stage 2-3 typically require corrective surgery and medical treatment, but stage 1 can easily be treated at home!
6 Ways to Cure an Ingrown Toenail
These simple cures require a bit of time and effort, but they can get your toenail back to normal.
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However, if you suffer from diabetes or any other condition that causes neuropathy or nerve damage, speak to your podiatrist before trying any of these remedies and enlist some help to cut and clean your nails.