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Safely treating an ingrown toenail

In certain cases, professional ingrown toenail removal may be needed.
In certain cases, professional ingrown toenail removal may be needed.
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

If you have ever had an ingrown toenail, you know how aggravating, irritating and downright painful they can be. Coping with an ingrown toenail takes some patience but with a few maintenance tips, the sufferer can be pain free in a relatively short period of time.

First of all, be sure to learn how to trim toenails properly. Many people make the mistake of cutting their toenails too short or at a rounded angle. An ingrown toenail happens when the corner of the nail grows into the flesh of the toe.

A toe nail cut straight across, above the toe line will not become an ingrown toenail. People with naturally curved nails are more susceptible to getting an ingrown toenail and should be very careful to cut toenails properly.

An improperly cut toenail should be filed smooth to discourage it from becoming an ingrown toenail. Use an emery board for this task. A metal file can cut or damage skin. File at the surface of the nail, rather than getting too close to skin.

If you do get an ingrown toenail, there some over the counter medicines that can help. These will soften both the ingrown toenail and the skin around it. People with diabetes should not use these medications as they could cause disease complications.

If you are more the natural cure type, an ingrown toenail may also be treated by soaking the affected area in warm water. This will effectively soften the ingrown toenail and the surrounding tissue it has penetrated as well.

After soaking, try placing a tiny piece of cotton gauze between the ingrown toenail and the toe. Avoid using a sharp object to do this. This method will provide pain relief by taking the pressure off the toe. Sterilize the cotton with an antiseptic such as hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection.

Wearing proper footwear can prevent an ingrown toenail. Avoid narrow toed and stiff shoes. Opt for square toed comfortable shoes. Be sure there is ample room for the toes and that toes are not forced together. Go without shoes in the home to prevent and treat an ingrown toenail.

If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, see a doctor right away. Don't try to treat it yourself. Infection can spread and cause gangrene and other medical problems. Diabetes should be especially careful about treating and ingrown toenail. Some doctors suggest they have their nails professionally cut in the doctor's office.

Please note: The author is not a licensed medical profession. This article is not intended to replace professional advice or consultation.


E Medicine Health

This article was previously published by this author on Yahoo! It has been updated and revised for Examiner.

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