Out of all the patients we treat, we found that there was one very common issue they faced: Ingrown Toenail Infections.
Ingrown toenails are extremely common, but when left untreated, can lead to nail infections like fungal nail infections. That’s why it’s always best to treat your ingrown toenails before they get to this point. In case you’ve already developed an infection, we’ve put together this article to tell you how to get rid of a nail infection.
Read on to learn more.
What Are Ingrown Toenail Infections?
Before we move on to how to get rid of nail infection, it would help to make it clear exactly what an ingrown toenail infection is and how it’s caused.
Ingrown toenail infections occur when the corner tip or edge of your toenail pokes into the skin surrounding it, instead of freely growing outwards. The toe that’s most likely to suffer from this issue is your big toe since it’s usually the one that’s most in contact with your footwear.
This condition is potentially very painful and can affect pretty much anyone, of all ages. Left untreated, an ingrown toenail infection can lead to other infections that may even spread into the underlying bone structure of your feet.
If you have a condition that reduces the blood flow to your feet, like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, you’re more likely to suffer from an ingrown toenail. In fact, if you suffer from any of these conditions, your ingrown toenail can turn sour very quickly and lead to severe complications. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms early on and treat it accordingly.
Ingrown toenails are treatable at home, but at-home treatments can lead to complications if not carried out properly and hygienically. These complications will require immediate attention from a podiatrist or medical practitioner.
How To Get Rid Of Nail Infection
Nail infections are definitely not a pleasant sight, this makes a lot of people adopt the idea of “out of sight, out of mind” and completely ignore the infection. Doing so just prolongs the ordeal even though one can get rid of the infection quite easily without a doctor’s appointment.
Here’s how to get rid of nail infection at home:
- Non-Prescription Treatments/Over the Counter Remedies
Some treatments do work when it comes to non-prescription treatments. It is possible to get inexpensive, non-prescription anti-fungal remedies at a drug store, but sometimes these tend to not be as effective, as they aren’t strong enough to fight the fungus.
Here are some other common treatments:
- Mentholated Salve/Vicks:
It may seem unlikely since Vicks VapoRub is made for cough suppression, but it is a great topical ointment for fungal toenails. Its active ingredients like camphor and eucalyptus oil can help treat toenail fungus. All you have to do is apply tiny amounts of Vicks VapoRub to the affected area at least once a day. A study done in 2011 proved that this ointment had a “positive clinical effect” when it came to the treatment of toenail fungus.
- Snakeroot Extract:
Snakeroot extract is an antifungal made from plants belonging to the sunflower family. A study done in 2008 showed that Snakeroot extract is as effective in treating fungal toenails as a prescription antifungal called ciclopirox. In the study, Snakeroot extract was applied to the affected areas every third day for the first month, twice a week for the second month, and once a week for the third month. It proved to be very effective.
- Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Small-scale clinical studies showed that tea tree oil may be effective in treating toenail fungus. To use this home remedy, all you have to do is apply tea tree oil directly onto the affected nail at least two times a day with a cotton swab.
This may seem like an unconventional method, but hear us out. Listerine mouthwash has ingredients like menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus. All of which are known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is why it’s a popular home remedy for toenail fungus. People that have tried and tested this method say that you should soak the affected foot in a tub/basin full of amber-colored Listerine for 30 minutes every day.Vinegar is also a reasonably safe home remedy to try out, although there’s only anecdotal evidence saying that vinegar is an effective treatment for toenail fungus. For this method, soak the affected foot in one part vinegar and two parts warm water for 20 minutes a day.
- Prescription Medications
You should check in with a dermatologist or podiatrist if your nail fungus doesn’t clear up at home. Your doctor may gently scrape under your nail to remove some of the fungus or send it to a lab for diagnostic testing. Stronger medications may also be prescribed.
- Topical drugs
For mild infections, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream or cream solution to apply to the nail or lacquer to paint on the nail. Before applying these remedies, trim your nails and soak the affected area. Using this technique, the drug is able to attack the fungus on the deepest level. In addition, your doctor may suggest that you thin your nail first with a file or urea lotion (which will also reduce pain). That can help the medicine work better, too.
To get rid of nail fungus, you may need to use topical drugs such as:
- Ciclopirox (Ciclodan, Penlac, Loprox)
- Efinaconazole (Jublia)
- Naftifine (Naftin)
- Tavaborole (Kerydin)
- Terbinafine (Lamisil)
When you apply them, you may experience side effects such as redness, swelling, stinging, and burning.
- Oral medication
The doctor may prescribe an antifungal pill you’ll need to take for 12 weeks if the infection is severe. Several studies have shown that drugs like terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) are highly effective at encouraging a new, healthy nail to grow in to replace the infected one.
It is not recommended to give these pills to people with liver or heart conditions. There may be interactions with any other medications you’re taking, including beta-blockers and antidepressants.
We hope this article helped you understand how to get rid of nail infections. If your nail infection persists or gets worse, you should visit a podiatrist immediately to avoid further complications. Book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic for the best podiatric care in town.