How to treat ingrown toenails at home.South West Podiatry
Ingrown toenails are on the rise due to the disruption and lifestyle change caused by the COVID-19 virus. This is because people are unable to access Podiatry services and there is an increase in activity levels due to the desire to get out and walk. Due to the changes this is causing a spike in complaints being recieved at South West Podiatry about ingrown toenails.
If left untreated the skin around the nail can become inflamed, putting individuals at risk of infection locally and sepsis if the toe is left untreated for a long period of time. This article has been designed to identify the clinical features of an ingrown toenail, what an infected toe looks like and how to treat at home before an appointment can be made with a Podiatrist.
Ingrown toenails, how are they caused?
Ingrown toenails are caused by a number of factors;
- Poor fitting footwear
- Inappropriate nail cutting technique
- Increased activity
- Toe and nail deformity
What does ingrown toenails look and feel like?
- Redness appears on the skin around the edges of the nail.
- The end of the toe can become swollen and hot.
- There is pain at the sides of the nail which is acute when pressure is put upon it.
- Fluid/Pus can appear at the sides of the nail.
- Extra skin is produced at the side of the nail that can bleed when trauma occurs to the area.
- The toe can start to smell usually when infection is present.
How do I treat an ingrown toenail at home?
- Keep the toe clean and bathe the toe in a warm salt water foot bath for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day.
- A clean cotton wool bud can be used to wipe away fluid and or puss before a salt water foot bath.
- If the skin around the nail is intact then gentle massage pushing the skin down and away from the nail can help reduce pain.
- Apply an anti septic cream or spray to the toe to try and reduce the risk of infection occurring.
- Keep the area covered with a sterile and breathable dressing
What happens if the pain does not go away?
If you are experiencing pain due to an ingrown toenail and the tips above have not helped to resolve the ingrown toenail then it is always best to consult with a Podiatrist as soon as possible. Due to the current climate Podiatrist are key workers and are still able to treat patients with acute conditions, ingrown toenails being one of them. At South West Podiatry we offer Virtual Video Consultations for patients who are unsure if their condition is urgent enough to be seen.
All our Podiatrists follow the guidance set out by Health England, College of Podiatry and the HCPC in treating patients that are at risk. All of our staff will be wearing full PPE when treating patients and will reduce patient to patient contact by allowing time in between appointments for patient to enter and leave with out breaking social distancing rules.