An ingrown fingernail occurs if the edge of a fingernail pierces the adjacent skin. The typical cause is incorrect trimming of the nail, but any hand injury or nail biting are also potential causes.
Oftentimes, the natural form or thickness of the nail makes the individual prone to an ingrown fingernail. Depending on the precise cause, the condition can range from a minor annoyance to agonizingly painful. Remember than an ingrown nail is at risk for infection if not properly treated.
Measures in treating an ingrown fingernail
- Immerse the ingrown fingernail in warm water 2-3 times throughout the day for 15-20 minutes to lessen the swelling. Make sure that the area is dried properly after soaking since leaving the site damp will allow the nail to dig in more deeply.
- Insert a small piece of cotton beneath the edge of the nail after soaking to raise it away from the skin. Continue this for a few days and observe if it can help. Take note that fingernails grow at an average of 2-3 mm every month. By keeping the nail raised away, it should allow it to grow past the skin.
- An over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen can be given for the pain if needed. An antibiotic cream can also be applied to fight the infection. Take note that the drainage of pus or redness might indicate that an infection has already developed. In such cases, a doctor should be seen right away.
- A doctor should be seen if there is no improvement in the nail after 3 or 4 days of treatment at home, even if there are no evident signs of infection. The doctor will utilize methods that range from trimming the ingrown region or entire removal of the nail and nail bed.
Always keep the fingernails cut straight instead of curved to prevent an ingrown fingernail. Remember that an unhygienic lifestyle can also lead to an ingrown, thus keep the nails clean always.