Maybe your shoes were too tight or you trimmed your toenail so that the edges curved downward. You might end up with an ingrown toenail for plenty of reasons. Even stubbing your toe can cause one.
Still, you might be less concerned with what caused the nail problem than with what you can do about it now that you have one.
We can help. As ingrown toenail specialists, Samantha Childers, DPM, and Ricky Childers, DPM, offer treatment at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle in Roanoke and Decatur, Texas. That said, you may not necessarily need professional care for your nail.
While ingrown toenails won’t heal on their own, you might be able to fix the issue with a specific home care plan.
At-home treatment to try healing the nail
The goal of your home ingrown nail care is to get the nail to stop growing down into the skin.
To start, soak your toe in warm, soapy water for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Soaking helps to soften the nail. After that, you can put a small piece of cotton (e.g., from a cotton ball) or waxed dental floss under the edge where it’s growing into your skin. Don’t wedge it in there. You’re just placing a guide to encourage the nail to grow outward rather than downward.
It might be tempting, but don’t try to dig out the nail. Doing so opens you up to infection, which can make your uncomfortable issue downright painful.
When you’re not soaking your foot, keep it clean and dry. Make sure you’re choosing shoes with plenty of room in the toe box, too. You don’t want anything pressing down on the nail, encouraging it to grow into your skin.
When to get medical care
You can try at-home care for a week. But if your nail isn’t improving, come see our team. That’s particularly true if you notice signs of infection, like:
- Red skin
At our office, we remove the portion of the nail growing into your skin in a sterile environment. This limits your risk of complications (like the infection you could get from trying to dig out the nail at home).
Most people get near-immediate relief with proper ingrown nail treatment. If you’re tired of waiting for your at-home care to work, and you’re ready to put your toe pain behind you, schedule an appointment with us. Call or send an online message to one of our offices today.