Ingrown toenails are just as painful, if not more, as they sound. It is a condition that develops when a part of the nail grows inward and digs into the skin of the toe, causing painful inflammation at first and infection later if untreated. It is more common in men than in women and generally younger men in their 20s and 30s are most at risk. If neglected, they can escalate into an infection or even an abscess that would require surgical attention. It’s best to be prepared, therefore and know how to tackle an ingrowth immediately when it occurs using these effective ingrown toenails home remedies tips.
What causes ingrown nails?
- Tightly fitted shoes.
- Unevenly trimmed sharp toenails.
- Toe deformities like bunions.
- Fungal infections that cause the toenails to thicken and grow inwards.
- An injury near the toenail that causes it to dig into the skin by repeated bruising.
- Habit of nail picking.
- Genetic predisposition.
What are the major symptoms of ingrown toenails?
- Redness around the toenail.
- Pain and tenderness of the toe.
- Inflammation and swelling around the area.
- Yellowish pus discharge in later stages.
- A localised infection may occur.
- Deeper soft tissue infection like cellulitis is possible.
- Abscess formation in extreme cases.
Here are 15 tried and tested home remedies to cure ingrown toenails effectively, so you can treat them by yourself with ease without having to rush to the clinic.
Home remedies to cure ingrown toenails
1. Soak your foot
Soak your foot in a mixture of warm water with Epsom salt or magnesium sulphate daily for 15 to 30 minutes. This will help provide relief to the swollen and tender area as well as soften the rogue toenail and thus prevent further ingrowth of the nail into the skin. If you think the nail has softened enough you can use a nail trimmer to gently cut it off.
2. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant. It is also easy to procure from any local market. Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl of water to soak your foot in for a soothing home treatment of ingrown toenails. It will prevent any further infection and also reduce the inflammation of the affected area. Add it to warm water to further help soften the toenail.
3. Vinegar solution
Vinegar is an effective remedy for any infection. Add one part vinegar to four parts of warm water to make a soaking solution for your feet that will relive the pin and tenderness, kill any germs in the area to prevent further infection and soften the toenail.
Lemon has anti pathogenic properties. It scores high on the list of home care tips for ingrown toenails. Cut slices of lemons and soak them in warm water. Use this water to warm your feet daily for a considerable period of time. The acidity of the lemon helps cure the infection and the warmth relieves the pain and softens the area. You can also apply a wedge of lemon directly to your toenail and keep it in place with a piece of gauge or bandage overnight.
5. Baby oil
This is helpful if the ingrown toenail hasn’t driven too deep into your foot. Baby oil is the least harmful substance you can find in your household and is very effective in nourishing and softening the skin. Pamper your poor infected toe by massaging baby oil onto it gently everyday to soften the hardened and tender skin around the nail.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oils like melaleuca, rosemary or clove oil have natural disinfectant and antiseptic properties. They can be applied to the affected area directly regularly and multiple times a day to provide relief and cure the infection. Wrap the toe up with a bandage to retain the oil overnight.
7. Potassium permanganate
Potassium permanganate is a natural disinfectant. It is often used to sanitise food. It has tremendous antiseptic properties and is used specifically to treat cankers, sores or fungal infections. Remember to use it in very small amounts. A quarter of a teaspoon in a bowl of warm water to soak your feet in is enough. Do it regularly to get maximum effects. This may cause some discolouration of your foot for a few weeks or so.
8. White flower oil
This is traditional Chinese healing oil that doesn’t actually contain a white flower but is made of an assortment of different useful herbal oils like eucalyptus and peppermint. Massage it into your foot regularly to get rid of ingrown toenails.
9. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is a kind of herbal oil which can be found in local shops easily. It has natural healing properties and can provide relief to inflamed areas affected by ingrown toenails if used regularly. Massage your toe with the oil daily for maximum results.
10. Antibacterial soap
Often ingrown toenails happen as a result of an injury to the foot or he toenail itself may result in further infection as it digs into the skin. Washing your feet regularly with antibacterial soap and wrapping the affected area up in antibacterial ointment is an effective home cure for ingrown toenail infections.
Use moisturising lotion, preferably a heavier one meant for winter to soften the hardened and inflamed area. This will provide much needed soothing relief and help manage the hard toenail so you can trim it off carefully.
12. Castor oil
It is one of the most beneficial home care products to be found in any scenario. It is very effective in skincare, treating muscle spasms and infections. Castor oil is very thick and must be heated before applying to the affected area. The warm oil will provide relief, soften the area and cure infections. You can also make a paste out of castor oil and baking soda and apply it to the area with cotton or gauge. However do not continue if this causes irritation.
Applying alcohol to the affected area softens it a great deal faster than warm water. Methylated spirits can also provide much needed relief form inflammation and tenderness. Alcohol is also a natural disinfectant and spirits can be used to disinfect an injury or infection as well.
14. Aloe vera
Aloe vera water can be used to wash and rinse the affected are because it has natural antiseptic and healing properties. Aloe vera ointment can also be used to fixingrown toenails as it soothes the inflamed area and softens the toe nail.
15. Turmeric powder
Turmeric powder is a common home cure for many infections in Indian households. Apply it directly to the affected toe by making a paste with water or add a tablespoon of it to warm water and soak your foot in it. It has natural healing properties and will ensure speedy recovery.
Some precautions to keep in mind
- Wear comfortable and well fitted shoes.
- Trim nails carefully and regularly.
- Wear clean socks.
- Keep your foot clean and dry.
- Use pumice stone or a foot file to keep the skin soft.