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When the outer edge of a toenail grows into the toe that surrounds it, this is known as an ingrown toenail. This condition can cause pain, redness, inflammation, and in severe cases, infection. Choosing the best ingrown toenail remedies for you depends on the severity of your ingrown toenail. If your symptoms are mild, it might be possible to treat them with at-home ingrown toenail remedies. Should your ingrown toenail be severe, however, or if you have diabetes or another condition which causes compromised circulation in the feet, you should see your doctor for treatment.
If you are experiencing only mild pain, swelling, and redness, you may find that your condition can be managed with a few at-home ingrown toenail remedies. Soaking the affected foot in warm water two to three times daily can help diminish pain by reducing inflammation. Inserting a small, clean piece of cotton beneath the edge of the toenail each day can help to retrain the angle of the nail so it no longer grows into the skin beside it. Applying an antibiotic cream to the area can discourage infection. Additionally, you might find that wearing open-toed shoes eliminates painful pressure on the nails.
Should your toe show signs of infection, such as discharge and extreme pain and swelling, or if you have a condition which causes compromised circulation in the feet, such as diabetes, you should see your doctor for treatment. Your doctor will decide on the appropriate ingrown toenail remedies for you once he has evaluated your condition. He may trim the segment of the toenail which has grown into the toe. Alternatively, he may remove a part of the nail along with the tissue below it in order to prevent future ingrown toenails. If an infection is present, he may also prescribe a course of antibiotics.
Many people find that prevention is the most effective of all ingrown toenail remedies. To discourage your toenails from growing into the skin that surrounds them, be sure to trim them regularly, and always cut them straight across instead of rounding their edges. It should be noted that trimming the toenails too short can actually increase the chance that they will become ingrown. Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes that put pressure on your toenails. Finally, wear steel-toed shoes or a similar type of protective footwear if you work in an environment in which your toes are susceptible to being struck or crushed.