Ingrown Toenails


Ingrown toenails occur when your nails' edges or corners grow into the skin next to the nail. Your big toe is most likely to get an ingrown toenail, but any toenail or even fingernail can be affected. This condition is prevalent among people with sweaty feet, like teenagers and students, particularly those who wear fitted closed shoes for long periods of time.

An ingrown toenail's causes include cutting your toenails incorrectly, particularly nails with jagged edges when you have irregular toenails when you drop something heavy on your toe. Sometimes, there can be a genetic predisposition to this condition.

An ingrown toenail can become infected. It may become painful, red, swollen, and it can ooze pus around the toe. There are a few home remedies that can work on ingrown toenails and are recommended as primary treatment for this condition by health care providers:

  • Soaking your feet in a bucket of warm water for 15-20 minutes 3 or 4 times a day - preferably with a few spoons of Epsom salt, magnesium salt, or even Dead Sea salt. Magnesium and Dead Sea salt are readily available in pharmacies in Israel. This will help relieve the pain, swelling, inflammation and allow the puss to be drained easily.
  • Pushing the skin away from the nail edge (slightly lifting the nail edge) using a blunt metal, a clean object like the file (under nail cleaner) attaches to nail clippers. You can also use dentil floss.  The important thing is to lift the nail above the skin line, especially in the infected area.  This is not comfortable but trains the nail to grow above the skin.
  • Taking acetaminophen/ paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve the pain.

If the pain gets worse, please make an appointment to see a health provider. In some extreme cases, infections can spread, and IV antibiotics are needed.  In cases of severe, recurring ingrown toenails, surgery is required.

If you are in a school that has EMA Care clinics, please see your health provider. They may be able to treat the ingrown toenail on the spot,  recommend some home remedies, or they might recommend seeing a specialist.

How to prevent ingrown toenails:

  • Cut your nails in a straight line with square edges.
  • Avoid cutting nails too short (leave 1-2mm edge)
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes
  • Keep infected area clean.
  • Don’t wear footwear that places a lot of pressure on the big toes, including socks and stockings that are too tight.

Ingrown toenails are extremely common, especially among gap year aged students. They can often be very painful and can even lead to serious infections if not treated aggressively. The good news is, they are easy to prevent!  Please follow our recommendations for ways to prevent ingrown toenails, and everything should be fine!

From here at EMA Care, we wish you a healthy and happy winter.

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