Blog 49 – Podiatrist Tips and Advice for Ingrown Toenail Self-Care | Toenail Infection Home Remedies Blog

Blog 49 – Podiatrist Tips and Advice for Ingrown Toenail Self-Care | Toenail Infection Home Remedies

If you’re dealing with the discomfort of an ingrown toenail, there are several effective self-care practices you can adopt. Podiatrists often suggest soaking your foot in warm water with Epsom salts to alleviate inflammation and gently lifting the nail edge to prevent it from digging into your skin.

You’ll also want to keep the area clean and dry, and ensure your shoes fit properly to avoid additional pressure. However, managing ingrown toenails at home can sometimes only go so far.

If you want to know when to seek professional advice or learn how to avoid them in the first place then this blog is written with you in mind. 

Understanding Your Ingrown Toenail

When an ingrown toenail occurs, the edge of your toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling that require immediate attention to prevent infection. You must understand that an untreated ingrown toenail can escalate to a more severe infection, potentially leading to pus formation and excessive bleeding. Recognising these symptoms early guarantees timely intervention and reduces complications.

First, pay careful attention to how you cut your toenails. Always trim them straight across without rounding the edges to prevent the nail from digging into the skin. Avoid cutting your cuticles, as this can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection.

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If you suspect you are in the early stages of an ingrown toenail - we strongly encourage you to seek professional help now. There are other non-surgical options available, but you the sooner you seek help, the more likely they will be suitable.

Additionally, choose shoes that fit well and provide ample room for your toes, as tight footwear exacerbates pressure on the toenails. Maintaining good foot hygiene is essential. Regularly wash your feet with soap and water and dry them thoroughly to avoid moisture buildup, which can foster bacterial growth.

Wearing moisture-wicking socks helps keep your feet dry, further preventing ingrown toenails. By adhering to these practices, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing painful and potentially complicated ingrown toenails, ensuring healthier feet and a sense of community among those who prioritise foot care.

Ingrown Toenail Self Care At Home Remedies

The biggest success factor in being able to resolve an ingrown toenail at home is to take action as early as possible. We can confirm that many people are able to successfully remedy their ingrown toenails at home, without the need for professional assistance, following the below tips and advice.

However, please keep in mind, these at home remedies do not work in all situations and some people must seek the help of an experienced Podiatrist in resolving their ingrown toenail once and for all (before it becomes a serious issue).

Proper Nail Trimming Techniques

To avoid ingrown toenails, trim your toenails straight across with a proper toenail clipper. This straightforward approach is crucial, as even minor deviations can lead to painful complications.

Here’s how to perfect your nail-trimming technique:

Use The Right Tool

Invest in a toenail clipper, not a fingernail clipper. The design of toenail clippers caters to the thicker, tougher nature of toenails, ensuring a clean, precise cut.

Trim your toenails after a shower when they’re softer. This makes the process smoother and reduces the risk of splitting or damage. It’s a small step that significantly increases your trimming effectiveness.

Make sure you don’t cut your nails too short or round the corners. Cutting too short increases the likelihood of the nail growing into the surrounding skin, causing an ingrown toenail. To protect the nail bed, aim to leave a bit of a white edge.

Cuticle Care Tips

Gently pushing back your cuticles with a cuticle stick helps maintain nail health and prevents potential infections. Start by soaking your feet in warm, soapy water for about ten minutes to soften the cuticles.
Using an orange cuticle stick, carefully push the cuticles back without applying too much pressure. This method ensures you don’t damage the cuticles or the nail bed.

It’s crucial not to cut your cuticles. They serve as a protective barrier for new nail growth, and cutting them can lead to infections or bleeding. Instead, focus on keeping them moisturised.

Applying a cuticle oil or cream daily will maintain their health and flexibility.

When pushing back your cuticles, ensure your tools are clean to prevent introducing bacteria. Sterilise your orange stick by wiping it with alcohol before and after use. This practice minimises the risk of infection, promoting overall nail health.

Caring for your nail cuticles is a prudent preventative measure against ingrown toenails.

Nail Polish Breaks

Why is it important to give your nails a break from polish? Regularly giving your toenails a polish-free period is essential for maintaining their health. Constantly covering nails with polish can lead to discoloration, weaken the nail structure, and mask underlying issues like fungal infections or trauma.

Here are three essential reasons to let your nails breathe:

To implement this, remove all nail polish thoroughly and let your nails remain bare for at least one week every month. Use a gentle, acetone-free remover to minimise chemical exposure.

During this break, moisturise your nails and cuticles regularly to promote overall nail health. By integrating these polish-free intervals into your routine, you’ll foster stronger, healthier toenails and prevent complications like ingrown nails.

Footwear / Shoes and Sock Choice

Selecting appropriate footwear and socks is essential. We highly recommend wearing open-toed shoes or sandals to minimise pressure on your toes, allowing the affected area to heal and reducing the risk of exacerbation. When closed-toe shoes are necessary, make sure they’re properly fitting—neither too tight nor too narrow. Ill-fitting shoes can compress your toes, worsening the ingrown toenail and potentially causing additional complications.

Opt for moisture-wicking socks made from materials such as wool or bamboo fibers. These fabrics help keep your feet dry by drawing moisture away from the skin, which reduces the risk of infection and irritation. Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to retain moisture, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and further aggravating ingrown toenail symptoms.

Furthermore, prioritise shoes with a wide toe box to give your toes ample room, thus preventing undue pressure. Regularly inspect your footwear for signs of wear and tear, as damaged shoes can alter your gait and contribute to toenail issues.

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If you're on your feet all day, you must wear a shoe with low heels & a wide toe box to help protect your feet from ingrown toenails.

Epsom Salt Soaks

Epsom salt soaks are an effective at-home remedy for relieving pain and inflammation associated with ingrown toenails. Epsom salt, containing magnesium sulphate, aids in reducing swelling and promoting healing.

To properly administer this remedy, follow these detailed steps:

Incorporating Epsom salt soaks into your self-care routine is a cost-effective, natural remedy that can greatly soothe discomfort caused by ingrown toenails. Regular soaks can complement professional treatment, providing relief and promoting recovery.

When to Seek Professional Podiatrist Help For Your Ingrown Toenail

If you notice persistent pain, swelling, or signs of infection in your ingrown toenail despite home care efforts, it’s important to seek professional help promptly. An untreated ingrown toenail can lead to severe complications, including deeper infection or even systemic issues.

When you observe symptoms like redness, increased swelling, or the presence of pus, these indicate an infection that requires a podiatrist’s expertise. Don’t wait for it to worsen; immediate evaluation can prevent further damage and alleviate your discomfort effectively.

Additionally, if your ingrown toenail is recurring or severe, professional intervention is essential for long-term resolution. A podiatrist can provide specialised care, including minor surgical procedures to remove the ingrown portion of the nail or prescribe antibiotics for infection management.

If the ingrown toenail is significantly affecting your daily activities or causing constant pain, a healthcare provider can offer solutions that go beyond what home remedies can achieve.

Ingrown Toenail Preventive Measures

Trimming your toenails straight across is the first step in preventing ingrown toenails. This simple yet essential practice guarantees that the edges of your nails don’t curve into the surrounding skin, reducing the risk of painful nail growth. Utilise proper nail clippers designed specifically for toenails to achieve a clean, straight cut.

Preventive measures extend beyond just nail trimming. Follow these critical steps to maintain excellent foot health:

Toenail Infection Home Remedies Conclusion...

Remember, around 20% of foot issues seen by podiatrists are ingrown toenails, so you’re not alone.

At-home care, such as soaking your foot, lifting the nail edge, and wearing the right shoes, can make a big difference. Don’t forget to trim your nails straight across.

If you’re dealing with severe or recurring pain, it’s essential to see a professional. Proper care now can save you from future complications.

Follow these steps to keep your feet healthy and pain-free.

If you think you may have an ingrown toenail and want the right professional advice on how to treat it, we currently have a limited offer running to help you out. A GAP FREE ingrown toenail assessment consult (only $59 for those without extras private insurance).

Please feel free to book yourself in online or call our friendly Reception on (03) 8104 9270 today.

Ingrown Toenail Infection

Understand how you get ingrown toenails your self care home options and what you can do to get rid of them once and for all. You don't need to put up with the pain of an ingrown toenail any longer.

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