By Kennedy Shelley
Until you have experienced the pain of an ingrown toe or fingernail you may not know why this article is so important.
It’s like the old saying “this sticks out like a sore thumb.” You just don’t realize how important your fingers, toes or thumb is until it starts hurting.
An ingrown toe or fingernail is where the edges of your nail grows back into the skin around it. Nails grow at a rate of .14 inches per month. Normally the edge doesn’t go back into the skin, but when it does, it is painful.
There is a temptation to want to remove the nail completely when this happens, but keep in mind it can take a year to 18 months to regrow a nail completely. Thankfully there are less evasive ways to take care of the problem.
Who gets ingrown nails? With the toes, it’s usually teens and others who have sweaty feet. People with sweaty palms are at higher risk for fingernail problems.
These are more likely to occur with the thumb and big toe.
When you cut the nail incorrectly, leaving anything less than a straight line can give the nail a path to enter your skin. Or in the case of ingrown toenails, wearing tight shoes can cause a problem.
But if you are reading this article you probably don’t want to read about how to prevent them, you want relief now.
The first thing you want to determine is how much damage has occurred. If there is pus or signs of infection then you need to seek medical care, home remedies won’t stop the infection, and if it gets worse or gangrene sets in, then there is the risk of amputation.
But if it’s just sore and red, you might be able to take care of it with some time-tested home remedies.
The most time tested remedy is simply soaking your finger or toe in warm water for 20 minutes a few times a day and keeping the area dry the rest of the time.
Try pulling the skin away from the nail after you moisturize the area with coconut or olive oil.
Use over the counter pain meds for the inflammation and pain such as Motrin or Tylenol.
Use Neosporin to stop any topical infection.
You can do this at home for a few days or a couple of weeks, hopefully if you start at the first sign of trouble, you can get this taken care of quickly.
But if this doesn’t work, then you may have no choice but to go to the doctor. Taking care of an ingrown nail is usually a minor in-office surgery, but it certainly is better than risking a serious infection which could result in an amputation.
Most of the time a doctor will do a partial nail removal, which can be painful, but it does tend to heal.
If you wait too long, and the nail thickens, the doctor may have to do a total nail removal, and that can be painful for months.
The best thing to do is to pay attention to keeping your nails cut which is what your mom told you to do anyway.