How to Properly Treat a Toenail Infection
Infected toenails need to be treated immediately before it is too late.
We often forget that our toenails, just like any other organ, are living and growing elements in our bodies. Our toe nails are the result of the hardening of top layers in the epidermis, and like the other layers of skin, toe nails can be subject to infection. Infections can be brought forth in a number of ways, through viruses, bacteria and fungi developing in the nail that can produce serious symptoms of swelling, irritation and pain. Some general causes of an infected toe can include:
- Cutting toenails too short
- Constantly picking or the tearing nails
- Frequent pressure placed upon toes
- Walking barefoot in damp public areas
- Wearing tight shoes or socks
It’s important to immediately take action or seek help if you are dealing with an infected toenail, because avoiding being proactive will only worsen the nail’s condition. Here are some tips on how to properly adhere to treating a toenail infection:
Soak the toe
This is a general form of treatment that is suitable for first noticing an infection, especially with an ingrown toenail. For best results, fill up your bathtub with very warm water. Mix in a few tablespoons of Epsom salt, and keep your foot submerged in the water for at least a good 10 to 15 minutes. You can repeat this method of treatment multiple times throughout the day, so the infected nail can properly heal.
Prop the nail
This is a good technique to use if you are dealing with an ingrown toenail. You can relieve pressure from the infected area by slightly propping the nail up with a small piece of cotton or floss behind the edge of the nail, but make sure to avoid using a metal tool or utensil to push the cotton further behind the nail. This can help provide the infected toenail with moisture that is trapped under its base.
Infections often lead to toenails drying out and not receiving enough proper nourishment to keep them healthy. Applying ointment to an infected area on the toe can help provide relief as well as prevent the infection from spreading. Using topical antibiotic ointments to rub on the nail should work just fine, or wrapping the infected toe with a bandage covered in any over-the-counter ointment will help keep the lotion effectively in place.
Visit a doctor
Like all types of wound care, visiting a doctor before the infection gets out of control is the best way to treat a toenail infection. Seeing a clinician can help you understand how the infection came to fruition, and how to effectively prevent it from happening again. For severe cases, the clinician will prescribe antibiotics as a last resort to combat against the infection. It is always better safe than sorry when it comes to these conditions.
What not to do
While seeing a podiatrist is ultimately the best way to treat an infected toe, it’s crucial to remember that “playing doctor” should best be left to the professionals. There are a variety of ways to worsen the condition of the toe, including:
- Cutting the nail
- Draining an infection
- Rubbing coal on the toe
- Digging under the nail
Try to avoid any urge to use any of these amateur techniques to help treatment.