Only those who have experienced an ingrown nail now what a nightmare it can be. It requires tenacity because it is tormenting and unpleasant. An ingrown nail occurs when a nail starts growing downward into the skin. First symptoms of this condition are redness and swollenness around the nail, and if there are an infection extra layers will appear on it as well as drainage and pus.
The causes of ingrown nails are various but the most common one is inappropriate cutting of nails. Also, this could happen because of a trauma to the nail, unsuitable footwear or fungal infections. Genes can also be the cause of ingrown nails. If someone among our family members suffered from this condition it is highly likely that we’ll inherit it too.
Although ingrown toenails are can be agonizing and sometimes even embarrassing because of the foul odor that comes from the infected tissues, they don’t last forever and are treatable.
- Water and salt treatment
Dip your legs in salt water (Epsom salt is the best) for five minutes. Follow this by pushing the skin away from your nail with a little piece of cotton.
- Pushing the nail upwards
If you go to the podiatrist, he/she’ll probably pull the nail up and place a dressing under it. Patients are discouraged from doing this on their own. However, if you do decide to do this on your own, make sure you’re extra attentive and do it delicately. Get hold of tweezers, cotton and something slightly pointed (like the little tool you push the cuticles back with). Carefully trim your nails and give special treatment to the ingrown part, ensuring that you cut the nail as straight as possible. Use the tweezers to gently separate the skin from the nail that is biting into it and to put some cotton under the ingrown part of the nail. Push the cotton under the nail by using the pointed tool but not too harshly. The piece of cotton doesn’t have to be too big and make sure it feels comfortable. Cotton should be changed regularly because in another case it could cause infection.
- Topical remedies
Once you recognize some of the early signs of an ingrown nail you can try to take care of it on your own. Vick VapoRub has a potential of relieving the pain and speeding the healing. As a great analgesic coming from China, white flower oil is also something podiatrists recommend. A few drops of this oil on your toe are enough to ease the pain. Oregano oil’s super antiseptic properties in combination with olive oil will also aid you to bid a farewell to the ingrown nail. Likewise, you can put a thin layer of lemon on the afflicted area and hasten the curing process. Lastly, there’s a combination of one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of mustard oil that will improve your ingrown nail.
In place of salt, you can use povidone-iodine, an antimicrobial that fights fungus and infection
- Tea-Oil and Baby-Oil.
Use tea-oil and baby oil to soften the skin around the ingrown nail. This will reduce pressure on the affected area when you have to wear shoes. Baby oil hasn’t antibacterial properties as the tea oil but is equally good at softening the area.
- Potassium Permanganate
You can use this for 2-3 weeks. Put the 0.04 potassium permanganate in water and soak your feet in it for around 20 minutes. Your feet may turn brownish but it is nothing to be wary of since potassium permanganate is a disinfectant.
- Using a band-aid
The trick with a bandage is to secure it at the bottom of your toe and .separate the skin from the toe. This relieves pressure from the area and promotes drainage and drying.
Surgical removal of a toenail is usually performed when the ingrown toenail causes infection and repeats itself in spite of various home treatments. The cost of the operation is dependent on several factors such as severity of the condition, how complicated the procedure is and what it involves, your insurance and the aftercare medications that you have to buy. Also, different hospitals set different prices but usually they vary from 50 to 1000 dollars. There are several types of surgical ingrown nail removal:
– Total and partial nail avulsion (matrix ectomy):
– Electrodesiccation and curettage: The process of preparing the patient for the surgery and phenolisation are the same as in the total and partial avulsion. The difference is that after putting phenol, a doctor will do a curettage of the matrix which will be accompanied by its destruction by electric current. The current should be used for 5 seconds and around 12 seconds of break in between.
-Partial nail plate and matrix removal: After the initial skin incision which starts 5-8 mm’s above the upper edge of the nail, the nail and the skin will be separated leaving the matrix exposed. Matrix is removed afterward and excised with a scalpel. Finally, the toe is dressed with a non-adhesive gauze. This is a very popular surgical method to deal with the ingrown nails with only 6 per cent chance of them appearing ever again.
-Nail plate and germinal matrix removal: This type of surgical ingrown nail removal is intended for older people who suffer from recurrent ingrown toenails and young people who don’t care about the looks of their nail. This surgical technique is also known as Quenu, Zadik or Fowler technique.
-Partial nail fold and nail matrix removal: The goal of this procedure is to remove the ingrown part of the nail together with nail matrix and inflamed soft tissue on that side of the toe.
-Nail fold removal and reduction: This technique may be appealing to the patients concerned about the presentation of the nail after the surgery.
-Terminal Syme Procedure: This procedure entails amputating the whole part of the toe that is affected by the ingrown nail.
Different doctors have different ideas about aftercare treatment, and make sure you abide by your doctor’s orders. What they usually tell you is to lie down at home and raise your leg above your heart. The anesthetic will wear off in 2 hours so if the pain is throbbing and nondurable take painkillers. You can expect a bit of bleeding which shouldn’t make you panic. In such cases just put extra layers of bandage over your toe. You’ll probably be told to put your legs in salt water after some time. Do it together with the bandage. After 20 minutes take the bandage off and put a cream or ointment on the place where the nail used to be.
What we need to know before starting any ingrown-nail treatment
Although this condition is pesky and excruciating we must not rush and blindly follow the hearsay about its treatment. If you’re doing a treatment on your own make sure you ask the pharmacist for pieces of advice and inquire the information about the side-effects of each remedy you’re buying. People with diabetes or HIV notice the symptoms of ingrown nails, they should not neglect them and are urged to rush to the doctors immediately. In other cases, further complications may even result in amputation of foot or leg as they may develop gangrene. If you decide to go under the knife test yourself on antibiotics. If you’re allergic to them and it goes unnoticed it could lead to unwanted reactions during the procedure!