If you have pain in your toe but don't know what the problem is, you might be suffering from the beginning stages of an ingrown toenail. There are many conditions that might cause discomfort in your feet and toes including a bunion, stubbed toe, fungal infection, sprain, or other injury, so how do you know if you are getting an ingrown toenail?
Early Stages of an Ingrown Toenail
There are three stages of an ingrown toenail. In the earliest stage your symptoms will include redness, swelling, and discomfort or pain where your toenail meets the bed of your toe. If you are experiencing these symptoms in the absence of a bump on the outside of your toe (bunion), rotting nail and oozing pus (fungus), and have not stubbed your toe or injured your foot in some other manner, you could be getting an ingrown toenail.
During the second stage of an ingrown toenail, you're likely to have even more pain and may see a little discharge at the edge of your nail. You might also notice swelling in the folds of skin along the affected toenail. If you are in the early stages of an ingrown toenail, there are a few things you can do at home to try and prevent it from getting to an advanced stage.
Treating Ingrown Toenails at Home
It is imperative that you trim the affected toenail very carefully (there's a right way and a wrong way!), soak the foot, use ointment you can make yourself from essential oils to reduce pain and prevent infection, and wear proper footwear. You should not wear socks and shoes when you're at home, and try wearing flip-flops when you go out. This allows your toe to get air while protecting your foot from dirt that can lead to infection.
When cutting or trimming an ingrown toenail, begin by soaking your foot for 20 minutes in Epsom salts or Castile soap. Make sure your fingers are clean as you push the swollen skin carefully away from the nail being careful not to force the skin farther away from the nail than it will go. Beginning at the sides of the toenail and finishing in the middle, carefully cut the nail. Avoid trimming your toenails with too much of a curve as this can cause the corners to be cut too far back. Follow the natural curve of the toe but make sure that when you are finished you can still see the entire leading edge of the toenail from one side to the other. Gently place a small bit of clean cotton between your skin and the ingrown toenail. This helps the toenail to grow back in the right way and prevents ingrown toenails from coming back. Apply ointment and put a bandage on the toe.
It's Time to See Your Podiatrist
If you notice excessive growth and redness, or oozing pus where your toenail meets your toe bed, it is time to make an appointment with your New Hampshire podiatrist. This is the third stage of an ingrown toenail during which you have an infection. An infection must be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your podiatrist. You might have a fever by this point, and the toe will probably feel warm and tender to the touch. It is best if you can see your foot doctor before your ingrown toenail gets to this stage if home treatment has not worked.
Nagy Footcare Can Help You
When you are experiencing toe pain or discomfort, you might be in the early stages of an ingrown toenail. You should immediately begin the home treatment methods mentioned above in order to prevent the problem from getting worse. If you have any questions or concerns, or are unable to properly cut the ingrown toenail by yourself, call Nagy Footcare. We firmly believe you should not have to suffer from foot or toe pain; offer the most advanced treatment options available in a professional, caring environment; and make it our mission to exceed your expectations in every way. Are you in the beginning stages of an ingrown toenail? Contact Nagy Footcare today!
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.