An ingrown fingernail tends to occur once the edge of the fingernail grows into the surrounding skin. The usual cause of ingrown fingernail is incorrect trimming of the nail but nail biting or an injury to the hand that tears the nail can also be a cause.
The natural shape or thickness of the nail can make the individual prone to an ingrown fingernail. Regardless of the cause, the condition can be annoying or even excruciating. Always bear in mind that an ingrown fingernail can become infected if left untreated. If you want to learn other ways to manage an ingrown fingernail, you can enroll in a first aid class today.
Steps in treating an ingrown fingernail
If you suspect that an individual has ingrown fingernail, do not wait for the condition to worsen since it might lead to an infection. As long as these measures are provided early, it will help hasten the healing process.
- You have to initially immerse the affected finger in warm water 2-3 times in a day for 15-20 minutes every day in order to minimize the swelling. Always make sure to carefully dry out the area after soaking since leaving the area wet will allow the nail to dig in more deeply into the surrounding skin.
- Wedge a small piece of cotton under the edge of the affected nail right after the soaking to lift it away from the surrounding skin. This should be continued for a few days to check if it helps. Always bear in mind that fingernails grow an average of 2-3mm every month, thus keeping the nail lifted away will allow it to grow way beyond the skin fairly quickly.
- Provide the individual with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen for pain if needed and apply an antibiotic cream to fight off the infection. Nevertheless, if redness or warmth develops, it indicates that an infection already developed. Once this occurs, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible so that proper treatment can be started.
- A doctor must be consulted if the nail has signs of improvement after 3-4 days of providing home treatment, even if there are no apparent signs of infection. The doctor can utilize various measures for managing an ingrown fingernail that can include trimming away the ingrown region of the nail to remove the entire part of the nail and the nail bed.
For those who are diabetic, home treatments are not advisable since a doctor must be consulted right away. The fingernails should be properly trimmed straight across instead of curved in order to help prevent ingrown fingernails. Additionally, poor hygiene can also lead to the development of ingrown fingernails, thus it is best to keep the nails clean.