A toenail infection is easy to ignore since it’s a slow pain. That is until it isn’t. Whether the infection results from an ingrown nail or a recent injury, it’s difficult to turn a blind eye when your toenail is a sore, red, and infected mess. If you suspect a progressing ingrown nail, you should follow up with a podiatrist, or visit an emergency care clinic or an Ontario Podiatry or as soon as possible.
The causes of an infected toenail
Your toenails can become infected in several ways, including calluses produced by your shoes or fungal infections. One of the most prevalent types of toenail infections is an ingrown nail. If you have an ingrown toenail, it means your nail’s edges have started growing inwards to the skin next to your toenail. Ingrown toenails can become inflamed, red, sore, and may even hold with pus within them.
Ingrown toenails are commonly caused by:
- Toenail wound or injury
- Cutting your toenail improperly (too long or too short)
- Improper trimming or cutting of nails. It is advised to cut toenails straight across without angling the sides of the nail.
- Genetically predisposed curved feet
- Inappropriate shoes, either too tight or too narrow, that puts tension on your big toes
- Improper foot hygiene, such as unclean or wet feet.
- Certain physical activities and sports like soccer, dance, and skiing
- Toe infections are more common in people having diabetes or other conditions that cause poor circulation and immune system deficiency. People with diabetes should frequently check their feet and have regular appointments with a podiatrist because they may not feel a toe infection’s pain until the issue becomes serious.
Symptoms Of Toenail Infection
An infected toenail comes with specific symptoms, which include:
- Overgrown skin covering part of your toenail
- Pressure or pain in your toe
- Swollen, hard, or tender skin around your toenail
- A blister pus-filled. A blister can go unnoticed, but the large amounts of drainage from your toe will be clearly visible.
- Discolored or yellow nails that are cracked or thick indicate a fungal infection in your toenails.
Home treatment and remedies for ingrown nails
You can do many things right at home to treat an infected or ingrown toenail to relieve pain and pressure from an ingrown nail:
- Wear wide and comfortable footwear.
- Gently pull the skin away from your ingrown toenail with a blunt nail file that won’t harm your toe. Put a little piece of cotton or dental floss between your nail and the lifted skin to lift the skin away from your toenail.
- Soak your feet in a foot bath with warm water and unscented Epsom salt. Put two tablespoons of unscented Epsom salts into a quart of water and soak your foot for up to fifteen minutes in one session. Do this a few times a day for the initial days. Remember always to dry your foot thoroughly post-soak.
Soaking your infected or ingrown toe can help relieve the pain and pressure of infection. It can also help to drain pus from your toe.
- Apply an antifungal ointment if you feel like you have a fungal infection. You can buy an over-the-counter cream or get a prescription from your doctor.
- Maintain dry feet, except when you’re soaking them for treatment.
- Use an antibiotic ointment on your ingrown toenail to reduce symptoms of infection.
- Alleviate pain with over-the-counter medications. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen can both help in relieving the pain that results from an infected toe.
When to consult your doctor:
While you can try many home remedies to treat an infected toenail at home, it’s necessary to acknowledge when you need to seek proper medical care. Get in touch with your physician or a podiatrist if:
- You can notice swelling, redness, or drainage oozing from your toe
- You feel you may have a fungal infection, and over-the-counter ointments aren’t working
- You have an ingrown or infected toenail, and you have diabetes
- Your toenail infection symptoms don’t seem to go away, they get worse, or they keep recurring
- Seek immediate medical attention if you feel feverish, and red streaks appear on your skin, leading away from the infected area, as these symptoms indicate a more serious infection
An infected toenail can have harsh effects on your daily functioning. However, you can prevent that from happening. Learning how to deal with an infected toe and knowing when to consult a professional can get you back to doing all the favorite activities. If you’re concerned about an ingrown nail in Pomona, you should set up an appointment with an expert podiatrist before attempting to cure yourself of your painful symptoms at home.