An ingrown nail is a common issue especially for the toes and can often result to ill-fitting shoes or poor trimming. Ingrown nails can damage the surrounding tissue and can lead to infection, pain and inflammation. Baking soda is considered as an old remedy that offers antiseptic properties and considered safe to use on various skin infections. A doctor must be consulted if the ingrown nail becomes infected since the removal of a certain part of a nail might be required.
An ingrown toenail or onychocryptosis is a prevalent condition that involves the growth of the nail towards the surrounding skin and eventually pierces the nail bed tissue or paronychium. Once the paronychium is damaged, it can cause a limited microbial infection, swelling and severe tenderness. Take note that the communicable agent is frequently bacterial but can also be fungi. The other common symptoms include minimal bleeding, redness, drainage of pus, formation of crusty granuloma and sensitivity to pressure.
What are the causes?
Ingrown nails can occur in the nails of the feet and hands but can occur most often in the toenails. The main cause of an ingrown toenail is ill-fitting footwear particularly shoes that do not have enough room in the toe area. Incorrect technique in trimming the nail can cause it to grow towards the paronychium and pierce it if the edges of the nail are sharp enough. Other contributing factors for the development of ingrown nails include diseases, trauma, nutritional deficiencies, deformities and genetics.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is utilized in both cooking and health applications. Take note that baking soda has a strong ability to neutralize acid which alkalizes the tissue and prevents the growth of bacteria. With this in mind, baking soda is a natural sanitizer and can be utilized as a safe antiseptic, both internally for mouth infections and externally on nails. Additionally, baking soda is highly effective against fungi than bacteria because yeast, fungus and molds are sensitive to changes in the pH level.
Considerations to bear in mind
When reducing the risk for ingrown nails, the individual should wear shoes that properly fit and allow enough room for the toes to move and breathe. The nails should not be trimmed too short or at uneven angles. Before the application of baking soda to the toenails or fingernails, it should be moistened with some water and create a paste.
Gently pack the paste into the damaged tissue and cover the affected finger or toe with a bandage or gauze. In case infection persists or worsens, a doctor must be consulted right away. In some cases, the ingrown nails should be removed and the infection can be treated with antibiotics. You can learn effective ways to manage an infection by enrolling in a first aid course.