Ingrown toenail -- also called onychocryptosis -- usually infects the nail on the big toe. When the toenail is curved downwards and grows into the skin, it is called ingrown toenail. It causes redness, swelling, and itching in the infected area. Furthermore, it breaks the skin. It is caused if one trims his/her nails too short. If proper nail care is not taken toenail fungus can develop.
Use of tight shoes or high heels that cause the toes to be compressed, leads to abnormal growth of the nail which results in onychocryptosis. If the nail grows sideways and pokes the outer edge of the skin, a crack occurs, giving rise to it. Unhygienic foot, wrong posture, foot injury, long toes, short nails, obesity, injury, diabetes, abnormal foot growth, and sweating of foot are few reasons for the same.
In the initial stages, the ingrown toenail is hard and swollen. If not treated, the problem persists and becomes severe. The infected area becomes red and an itching sensation and pain is experienced. At times, cracks develop in the infected area which gives a convenient entry to bacteria. This leads to bad odor and makes the infection more severe. After a few days, tissue and skin starts growing around the nail. In extreme cases, yellow or white-colored pus is developed. A person affected by an onychocryptosis may feel feverish too.
Various home remedies are available for treatment of this condition. Here are a few remedies to cure it:
- Soak your leg in either of the two solutions: A mixture of vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:4. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).
- After soaking, mildly turn back the overgrown skin. You can place a cotton under the nail to raise the ingrown toenail off the skin.
- Soak cotton in hydrogen peroxide and clean the infected part with it. Apply iodine to the infected area. Repeat this process thrice a day.
- Dip your feet in warm salt water for 30 minutes. With the help of tweezers, gently remove the skin. Repeat this process for 15 days.
- Gently lift the ingrown toenail and place cotton in between the nail and the skin. Change the cotton everyday to cleanse the area and reduce the risk of infection.
- Cut lemon into half, place it over the infected area and wear socks over it to keep the lemon in place.
- Cut a 'V' notch so that the nail grows more towards the center and away from the edges.
- Wash your feet twice a day and keep it dry for the remaining part of the day. Wear sandals till the infection is completely healed.
- Avoid eating sugar.
If the symptoms still persist, consult a physician at the earliest. Thus, with the home remedies suggested above, this condition can be cured and the beauty of your feet will be further enhanced.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.