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Should you treat your ingrown toenails yourself? There are situations when you may be able to handle the problem on your own, but there are also signs that you should skip treatment at home altogether and see a doctor.

When to Treat at Home and How

If the ingrown toenail is mildly irritated and red, then you don’t necessarily have to see a professional. The following treatment should help:

  • Soaking your foot in lukewarm water three times a day for 15 minutes.
  • Massaging the skin around the area where the nail has grown with the purpose to push the skin away from the nail.
  • After drying the foot thoroughly, applying antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent infection.

If after a few days the soaking doesn’t work and the irritation gets worse, then it’s best to visit the doctor.

When to Seek Professional Help

Whether the ingrown toenail happened naturally or through an injury, it can be very painful. If the pain doesn’t subside, the toe feels numb and there are signs of an infection then go directly to a professional before attempting to treat the problem yourself. If you have diabetes or poor blood circulation, you should also seek immediate help.

Needless to say, it’s better to prevent ingrown toenails from becoming a problem. Clipping your nails on a regular basis according to the natural curve of your toe and not rounding off the corners should help a great deal. Also, don’t cut them too short and wear shoes that give your toes enough room to move around.