Good healthy nails are always admired, they have cosmetic importance. Though nails of fingers and toes in human may be considered vestigial organs in comparison with claws and hoofs of lower animals, they are still useful as they protect the delicate tissues around the finger tips. Ingrown fingernail as the name signifies is growth of free edge of the nail into the soft tissue and skin of the finger. An ingrown nail is a common nail problem and it affects nails of fingers as well as toes. Ingrown fingernail results in redness, pain, swelling and infection of the skin and soft tissue around the tip of the fingernail.
The malady can affect anyone and those suffering from this disease find difficulty in performing daily activities. Careless manicuring and faulty cutting of finger nails that produces sharp edges rather rounded border is the prime reason for ingrown fingernail. The risk grows far more among elderly individuals, if you are diabetic or having a nail deformity or an injury to the finger. If you trim your nails too short there is always a risk for an ingrown nail. Proper nail care and hygiene can usually resolve the condition.
Usual Symptoms of Ingrown Fingernail
Usually ingrown fingernail may occur in one finger, however it is not the rule and the condition may prevail in other fingernail as well.
Pain around the affected fingernail is the first symptom experienced by the person. Gradually, the skin and soft tissue of the fingertip and area surrounding the nail become red and inflamed. Now the severity of pain increases and continuous throbbing and pulsating pain is felt around the finger tip and on the sides of nail. With pain and redness there is swelling of the fingertip, the area becomes tender to touch and pain becomes intense. Secondary infection sets in and after two to three days there is discharge of pus and cheesy material.
How to Effectively Treat Ingrown Fingernail
Ingrown fingernail is easily diagnosed by its appearance and there are no specific test is required for ascertaining it.
An ingrown nail can be treated at home conservatively, and for this you require patience. Because it may take some time to cure the condition permanently.
One of the best home remedy to alleviate pain due to ingrown nail is to soak your fingers in a bowl of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Soaking of nails will make them soft. You can add one or teaspoon of coconut oil in the water. Coconut oil is a natural soothing agent for inflammation and pain. Besides, coconut oil has mild antibacterial and antifungal properties that may prevent development of infection or help to drain the developed pus.
You can also use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil and effective remedy for curing infection especially those caused due to fungus. You can apply diluted tea tree oil locally on the fingernail or can add in warm water and soak your finger.
Instead of tea tree oil another effective remedy is apple cider vinegar.
Once the nail becomes soft after soaking, try to lift the ingrowing edge every day and gently insert a drop of coconut oil or a mild antiseptic between the nail and the overgrown skin wall. Do it two times in a day.
If the pain is unbearable and the infection is becoming worse, you have to consult your doctor. He may prescribe antibiotics or may suggest surgical removal of the ingrown fingernail or cutting a part of the nail.
To prevent ingrown fingernail cut your nails straight rather than cutting it with rounded border. Do not repeatedly cut your nails too short.