If you are prone to ingrown toenails, then you are all too familiar with the pain and inflammation that they cause. Ingrown toenails can be caused by improper trimming, ill-fitting shoes or structural deformities of the toe. While you should always visit your doctor for evaluation and treatment, here are three things you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms while waiting for your appointment:
To soothe pain and inflammation and to diminish redness of your ingrown toenail, Medline Plus recommends that you soak the affected foot in warm water up to 4 times per day. After soaking your foot, gently pat it dry, and avoid rubbing the sore toe. Do not add soap, peroxide, rubbing alcohol or Epsom salts to the foot soak, as these may further irritate sensitive tissues, and may even raise the risk for infection.
To further enhance healing, dab a small amount of over-the-counter antibacterial ointment to the affected area and cover with a piece of sterile gauze and a bandage. The gauze will add an extra measure of padding to the toe so that you're not in pain when wearing your shoes.
Take An Anti-Inflammatory
Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen will greatly reduce the pain and swelling of your ingrown toenail. While acetaminophen will also help diminish pain, it will do little to decrease inflammation, however, it is a good choice if you are unable to tolerate the gastrointestinal side effects that can be caused by ibuprofen. While pain relievers will help make you feel better, you'll still need to see your doctor because you may have an infected toe, which may require a course of oral antibiotics.
Consume Vitamin C
Vitamin C enhances circulation and promotes tissue healing. To increase your intake of vitamin C, simply consume more citrus fruits, such as oranges or grapefruit, or drink citrus juice. If you prefer, you can take a vitamin C supplement, however, doing so may lead to stomach upset, and in certain cases, cause diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
If you take prescription medications, consult with your physician before taking vitamin C supplements or eating grapefruit. Certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, should not be taken with grapefruit or grapefruit juice because it can intensify the effects of the drug.
If you have diabetes and get an ingrown toenail, avoid home remedies and see your doctor right away. Diabetics can quickly develop infections if ingrown toenails are not treated promptly, because their circulation may be already compromised as a result of persistent elevations in blood glucose levels.
For more information, contact a local clinic, like Lincoln Park Podiatry.