Before discussing what ingrown toenail pus is, let’s discuss what is an ingrown toenail is all about. An ingrown toenail is a very common nail problem that happens when the nail that should naturally grow straight and upward takes a rather awkward growth pattern. The nail curves or bends inward hence exerting pressure on the adjacent skin or the nail bed.
After a while, the nail starts growing into the adjacent skin or nail bed resulting in a condition called ingrown toenail – instead of growing over the flesh, the nail grows into it. Though ingrown toenail could affect any toenail, the big toe is far more affected. More than 90 percent of ingrown toenail borders on the big toe. An ingrown toenail is not something to take lightly because besides the fact that it causes a lot of pain, it can also be easily infected. You should not wait till your ingrown toenail gets infected before taking care of it.
Causes of an ingrown toenail
Improper cutting of the nail: this is the most common cause of ingrown toenail. More often than not, we follow the curve of the toenails when cutting them. This encourages the toenails to grow into the adjacent skin or nail bed. The nails should rather be cut straight across. Another improper cutting of the nail that a lot of us do is cutting the nail too short; this also encourages the nail to curve and ultimately result in an ingrown toenail.
Thick toenails: when the toenails get thick, they take funny growths and are strong enough to easily penetrate the surrounding skin. Thick toenails often happen with age and are also caused by toenails fungus.
Wearing ill-fitting footwear: this is another key cause of ingrown toenails. Wearing tight socks or shoes chokes the toes causing them to cramp together hence forcing the nails into awkward positions. It ultimately results in toenails growing into the surrounding skin.
Injury: Injury to the toenails such as jamming your toes or hitting them against hard objects could also cause an ingrown toenail. athletes, especially those who use their feet extensively e.g. football players, are more susceptible to this.
Poor posture: taking postures that make the put pressure on the surrounding skin promotes ingrown toenail.
Improper foot hygiene: this is as fundamental as it gets for all of us. Failure to observe proper foot hygiene exposes us to several foot problems including ingrown toenail and toenail fungus. Improper foot hygiene includes keeping wet feet and dirty feet.
Genetic predisposition, underlying health issues, congenital toenail deformity, and edema are also possible causes of an ingrown toenail.
Symptoms of ingrown toenails
An ingrown toenail can be easily differentiated from other toenail problems. The observable symptoms can be grouped into two stages: early stage and infected stage.
- Tenderness, swelling, and hardness of the surrounding skin
- Painful especially when pressure is applied
- Gathering of fluid around or beneath the nail
Infected ingrown toenail symptoms
- Surrounding skin redness and swelling
- Increasing pain
- Overgrowth of skin around the nail
- Ingrown toenail plus
What Is Ingrown Toenail Pus?
Ingrown toenail pus is one of the symptoms of an infected toenail fungus. Ingrown toenail pus is one of the most serious symptoms presented by an ingrown toenail. It often comes with a foul odor. Generally, pus is a thick fluid composing of dead tissue, cells, as well as bacteria. It usually results when the body is trying to fight off an infection. Ingrown toenail Pus comes in varying colors such as brown, yellow, white, and green. Ingrown toenail pus can result from either bacteria or fungi infections. Other infected symptoms include bleeding and a feverish feeling.
What is the best thing to do for an ingrown toenail?
The best treatment for an ingrown toenail depends on the stage of the infection. An ingrown toenail at its early stage will be perfectly treated at home but if infected, the help of a specialist should be enlisted. In extreme cases, partial or total removal of the nail might be the very best thing to do.
Home remedies for an ingrown toenail
Usually, ingrown toenails can be treated at home except in critical cases when partial or total removal of the nail may be required which should be handled by an expert. In fact, many experts advise patients to treat an ingrown toenail at home except in exceptional cases. Home remedy is perfect if the ingrown toenail has not been affected. The home remedy for an ingrown toenail is as follow:
- Soak your foot in a basin or bathtub containing a mixture of water and salt for about 15 minutes. This should be done 3 to 4 times per day.
- Use a cotton ball to push way the skin around or beneath the nail and gently pull the nail up. This will ease the pressure on the skin. A small piece of cotton or dental floss should be placed below the nail to ensure the nail grows away from the skin.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the ingrown toenail to avoid infection.
Kerasal ranks high among the best over-the-counter nail products. This topical solution contains ingredients that fight nail infections as well as straighten the nail hence helping to correct curved nails and prevent or treat an ingrown toenail. one of the outstanding features of kerasal is the speed with which it works. Significant improvement will be noticed within just a week of using kerasal. It is very safe for usage; does not contain any preservative or harsh chemicals that could cause side effects. Also, kerasal is odorless and does not stain your clothing or bedding hence making it perfect for both day and night time usage.
Common misconceptions to avoid when treating ingrown toenails
- Cut the nail: a usual recommendation is that an infected ingrown toenail should be cut. This is actually not something you should as the infection could get even worse. Also, it can result in a future reoccurrence of ingrown toenails. Therefore, do not cut the nail. Instead, relieve the pressure on the surrounding skin by propping the nail up. Even if it has to be cut, it is best handled by an expert.
- Dig beneath the nail: because of the pain that comes with ingrown toenails, we are often tempted to relieve the pressure on the skin by digging at the skin beneath the nail. Don’t do this otherwise the infection could be intensified leading to even more serious ingrown toenail situation. In fact, do not use objects such as clippers, sticks, files, etc. on the toenail.
- Drain the infection: one of the symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail is the building up of pressure around and beneath the toenail. This is as a result of fluid gathering beneath around and beneath the nail. I hear people advise the use of sharp objects like a needle to puncture the skin so that the fluid can drain. As good as this sounds, it could make the infection much worse even with the clean and sanitized tools.
- Coat your toe: one of the most popular myths about making a toenail infection go away is coating the nail e.g. rubbing the nail with coal. Regardless of the results some claim to get from this method, nothing should be put on the infected area or nail except it is an antibiotic.
How to prevent an ingrown toenail
- Trim your nails straight across: as stated earlier, do not cut your nail to match its curve. Rather, cut it straight across. If you are using a pedicure, inform the pedicure about how you want your nail trimmed.
- Moderate cutting of the toenail: when cutting your toenail, make sure you do not make it too short as this could direct the nail into the skin when pressure is applied especially in shoes. A rule of thumb is to cut the nail to be even with the tips of the toes.
- Proper fit footwear: one of the leading causes of an ingrown toenail is the wearing of ill-fitted footwear such as socks and shoes. Tight footwear put pressure on the toes causing the nail to grow in awkward positions.
- Wearing of protective footwear: if you are prone to sustaining toe injuries such as hitting your feet against hard objects or dropping heavy objects on your toes, wear protective gear.
- Inspect your feet regularly: people more prone to nail problems such as people with underlying health issues and athletes should pay adequate and consistent attention to their toes. This will help you detect any strange growth as early as possible.
- Keep proper foot hygiene: sweaty or wet foot and dirty nails are two of the numerous poor foot treatments. Keeping the foot dry and clean will significantly reduce the chances of having an ingrown toenail.
How to fix a toenail that is curving in
Before a toenail finally grows inward, it starts by curving inward. Therefore, a proactive way of preventing ingrown toenails is to correct curved toenails as soon as possible. Let’s look at ways of fixing toenails that are curving in.
Foot soak and use of antibiotic ointments
- Prepare a mixture of salt and water in a basin big enough for a foot soak
- Soak your feet in the mixture for about half an hour
- Push the skin away from the nail using a cotton ball and then pull the nail up gently
- Apply antibiotic ointment to ensure an infection does not set in
- Repeat this process every day until the curved nail is corrected
Note: this method works before infection sets in.
One of the most effective ways of fixing cases of curved toenails is the use of a toe brace. Designed to work as a spring, toe brace gently lifts the nail and redirects to grow straight and off the surrounding skin. A perfect product for this is the Curve Correct. It contains 10 braces, each of which is designed to be a follow up to the previous one. When used, Curve Correct perfectly redirects the nail hence solving the problem of curved toenail or an ingrown toenail.
Applying a toe brace
- Trim nail and wash off all contaminants
- Pre-fit the brace to check the perfect angle for application
- File all spots and ridges as much as possible to level the nail
- Clean the nail surface with solvent to ensure all particles are removed
- Then apply the toe brace as directed by the manufacturer.
Note: this can be done at home.
In acute cases, a curved toenail may require partial or total removal of the nail. This should be done by a specialist who is well skilled in the safe removal of nails to avoid compounding the problem. Surgery is used only when other treatment options are considered inadequate or infection has set in. It is the last resort. Often, when a part of the nail is removed, it is treated to ensure it does not grow again.
An ingrown toenail is not a pleasant situation especially when it has been infected. The pain can be very excruciating and can also give a foul odor. Hence, it is important to get the best treatment option when tackling an ingrown toenail situation. Home remedy often works fine in this treatment but if the toenail fails to improve and the pain keeps increasing, it is better to consult a specialist for the next line of action. Kerasal is one of the best over-the-counter products available for the treatment of nail problems. Toe brace such as Curve Correct are also perfect for correcting curved toenails.