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Epsom Salt Treatments for Ingrown Toenails

By Holly Thompson ; Updated July 27, 2017

An ingrown toenail usually occurs on your big toe. The problem starts when the nail grows downwards instead of upward and digs into the skin. It is most common for this to begin at the side of the nail bed. This unsightly problem causes inflammation, pain and swelling. The condition worsens when the nail cuts into the toe and the area gets infected. This can cause more pain, swelling and discharging of pus.

Epsom salt treatment

A way of treating an ingrown toenail at home is to soak the affected foot in an Epsom salt bath solution. Adding Epsom salts to a foot soak makes the liquid super saturated. When you put your foot in the mixture, a process of osmosis occurs where the pressure in the salt solution is greater than in your toe. This causes the infection to be drawn out into the water and helps it clear quicker.

Preparing the Epsom salt treatment

You want to soak your feet in both hot and cold soaks to combat the infection. For the hot soak, warm water to 100 degrees, and then add more hot water to a maximum temperature of 110 degrees. Be careful not to make the soak too hot and burn yourself. Add the amount of Epsom salt recommended on the packaging and stir in until all the salt has dissolved. For the cold soak, add ice to cold water and don't add any Epsom salts.

Soaking your feet

Put your feet into the hot soak for three minutes. As well as extraditing the infection, the hot soak also helps ease the pain and reduce the swelling. Then move your feet into the cold foot soak for half a minute. The change from hot to cold should increase the blood flow to your feet, helping your body fight the infection quicker. Repeat the entire process three times. You can soak your infected foot several times a day if need be.

Other treatments for ingrown toenails

If your ingrown toenail is infected, it's worth going to the doctor to prescribe some antibiotics. This should help rid your body of the infection quicker. Keep your infected foot exposed as much as possible by wearing open-toed sandals. To prevent getting another ingrown toenail, ensure you wear correctly fitting shoes. It also helps if you cut your toenails in a straight line and not too short.

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