How to Treat an Ingrown Fingernail

Ingrown fingernails usually cause discomfort, inflammation, redness, and, in rare cases, infections. Ingrown nails aren’t limited to your toes. Ingrown fingernails could also occur. However, the pain is less apparent in fingers since you are not cramming your fingertips into ill-fitting footwear.

Ingrown fingernails usually cause discomfort, inflammation, redness, and, in rare cases, infections. Ingrown nails aren’t limited to your toes. Ingrown fingernails could also occur. However, the pain is less apparent in fingers since you are not cramming your fingertips into ill-fitting footwear.

In this article, you’ll know about ingrown fingernails, causes, home remedies, prevention, and when to seek a doctor.

Ingrown Fingernail in a Nutshell

Any ingrown nail occurs when a nail grows through the skin layer surrounding it. An ingrown nail seems to be pressing towards the skin or bending downwards.

Keratin is a protein found within your cuticles and epidermis. Whenever large amounts of keratinized tissue rise to the top of the finger, they create nails.

In short, your nail ridges link on the skin ridges beneath the nails. It assists in holding your nails. Once the form of your nail alters, the ridges that keep it in position may become disconnected.

Consequently, the nail may grow further into the edges of your skin, resulting in an ingrown nail.

What Causes Ingrown Fingernail?

Ingrown fingernails can be triggered by several factors, such as:

  • injuries
  • a fungus infection
  • nail growth — either too rapid or too sluggish
  • trim irregularities, like leaving a fingernail spur at the tip
  • chewing one’s nails

How to Treat Ingrown Fingernail

Ingrown nails must not be treated at home by those who have diabetes, neuropathic pains, or circulatory issues. In such instances, they must consult a doctor for appropriate treatments.

If you are keen enough to do this on your own, wash your hands thoroughly using antibacterial soap and water prior to actually attempting to remove an ingrown nail at home.

Primary Treatment (Compress, Soak, Cream, and Bandage)

If you have no diabetes or some other health issue that puts you at risk, you should be able to cure an inflamed fingernail at home effectively. These steps are easy.

  1. At least two times per day, use warm compresses or immerse your finger in lukewarm and soapy water for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Put an antimicrobial or antifungal ointment to the affected area.
  3. Protect the inflamed area using a sterile dressing or bandage.

Alternative Treatments

Here are some alternative treatments that you could try.

1.    Soaking with Saltwater

Soaking the fingertip with warm saltwater may encourage the nail to sprout outward by itself. This method is effective for minor ingrown nails that don’t really cause discomfort or other symptoms.To cure an ingrown fingernail, do the following:

  • The heated saltwater should be placed in a clean basin.
  • Soak the injured finger for 15–30 minutes underwater.
  • Thoroughly rinse your hand and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Use topical antibacterial ointment to the affected area and wrap it snugly with a gauze.

2.    Making use of dental floss

Inserting a strip of cotton beneath the nail might be tricky at times. In some instances, coated dental floss will be much more convenient.

After soaking then cleaning your hands, softly thread a soft microfiber of dental floss beneath the ingrown border of your nail.

3.    Using cotton or gauze

When soaking by itself does not provide relief after two days, you might use gauze or cotton to encourage the fingernail to grow outward gradually.

Upon soaking, put a small piece of sterile cotton or gauze underneath the nail. This could also help reduce pain or discomfort by gently detaching the fingernail from the skin.

Replace its cotton once a day until your fingernail has outgrown and recovered completely.

Medical Intervention Solutions

If home treatment is ineffective, a healthcare provider can extract the portion of the fingernail which is causing the problem.

Many people experience recurring ingrown nails. In certain situations, a doctor may recommend that the nail be removed in-office.

Whenever an ingrown fingernail creates a severe infection, especially if an abscess occurs, your treatment may involve one of many surgical treatments.

Here are some treatments that your doctor can provide.

1.    Wedging a Cotton

Your doctor can carefully raise the nail and place a tiny wedge of antimicrobial cotton in between your nail and the painful skin adjacent to the nail. It can alleviate discomfort while also allowing the nail to develop normally.

2.    Incision and Drainage of Abscess

Once your ingrown fingernail develops into an abscess, then you must see a doctor. Inside the hospital, your finger would be sedated with a local anesthetic, just before an incision be performed to extract the pus.

When there is a lot of discharge, the doctor might put a gauze strip in the cut to let it escape after a day or two.

3.    Excision

Ingrown fingernails are seldom treated surgically. Ingrown toenails are more commonly treated surgically. Unless an ingrown fingernail does not heal on its own, you should consult a family doctor or specialist for surgical treatment.

Nail avulsion is a frequent technique used by doctors. A part of the nail is removed to let the affected area clear and recover. A local anesthetic is used to keep the region numb throughout the procedure, which is usually conducted in the clinic.

How to Prevent Ingrown Nails

Ingrown fingernails are most commonly caused by trimming the fingernails overly short. Besides safe nail clipping, the American Academy of Dermatology advises the simple measures:

  • First, soak them. Soft nails seem to be quicker to trim. Before cutting your nails, take a shower or wash, or immerse them in lukewarm water for several minutes.
  • First, soak them. Soft nails seem to be quicker to trim. Before cutting your nails, take a shower or wash, or immerse them in lukewarm water for several minutes.
  • Third, for fingers, utilize fingernail trimmers. Toenail trimmers should not be used on fingernails, and inversely.
  • Fourth, precisely cut the fingernails short. However, do not make the tips overly short.
  • Fifth, gently shape the nail edges. Choose a clean nail file to round the edges of your fingernails. Move the file in just the same manner as before. Any zigzag or unsteady motion must be best avoided.
  • Sixth, cuticles should not be clipped. Cuticles are a protective covering for the nails. Pruning them raises the possibility of infections.
  • Seventh, apply hand cream. Keeping your fingers and nails hydrated might actually prevent skin from drying out and flaking.
  • Eighth, consult a doctor if you notice any unusual changes in your nails. Nails that have a specific color, tone, or form may indicate a distinct health problem.

The Key Takeaway

Do You Really Need Surgery for Ingrown Fingernails?

Whenever ingrown nails keep growing into the flesh, ingrown fingernail surgery could be the best option. While nail overgrowth may appear to be little more than an irritation initially, you may experience long-term or deteriorating consequences even if you have undergone the mentioned home remedies. The following indications imply that you may require additional medical treatments.

  1. Bleeding
  2. Swelling
  3. Skin Irritations
  4. Skin Hardening
  5. Painful discomfort associated with pressure
  6. Necrosis
  7. Bacterial infection (pertinent symptoms include pus, unusual smell, and inflammation)
  8. Too much difficulty in using your hands

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