Symptoms such as inflammation around your nail and pain when you walk can indicate that you're dealing with an ingrown toenail. This common health issue can make you feel miserable due to how it affects your mobility and the discomfort it causes. If you believe that you have an ingrown toenail, scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist can be the first step toward a solution. As a food specialist, your podiatrist commonly deals with foot-related issues such as ingrown toenails and will be able to treat the problem and even give you some useful advice that can reduce your risk of developing this problem again in the future. In the day or days leading up to your appointment, it's often possible to seek a degree of relief with these three strategies at home.
Until you're able to see a podiatrist, try to spend as much time barefoot as you can. Wearing socks and shoes can not only lead to sweating that creates a damp environment ideal for bacterial growth, but can also expose your ingrown toenail to bacteria. For example, if you wear old shoes, the material in the shoes often has a significant degree of bacteria to which you're exposing your ingrown toenail every time you slip the shoes on. When you have to go out, opt for a breathable footwear solution such as sandals.
Soak the Toe
Soaking your ingrown toenail in a solution of hot water and Epsom salts can reduce the swelling and provide some reprieve from the pain. Pour some hot water into your bathtub or a foot-soaking tub and add about half a cup of salts for approximately every gallon of water you use. Sit with your ingrown toenail in the solution for between 15 and 20 minutes. You can boost the efficacy of this treatment by performing it three times per day. If your spare time is at a premium, don't suffer unnecessarily by skipping this strategy—use the foot tub when you're sitting to eat dinner.
Use Topical Cream
Although your podiatrist will often provide you with ointment to use on your ingrown toenail, it's worthwhile to visit a pharmacy in the meantime and look for an antibacterial topical cream that will help to prevent or reduce the infection. Follow the manufacturer's instructions closely; depending on the product, you'll often be instructed to apply the cream several days per week and wash the area thoroughly between applications.