Ingrown toenail pus occurs when an ingrown toenail begins to grow into the skin instead of growing over the skin.
Often, it is something that only affects the big toe, although it can affect the other toes as well. The ingrown toenail may be infected, become red and swollen, and this will ultimately lead to it draining pus.
Any person can get ingrown toenail pus, but adults are more susceptible to it, as opposed to small children. Individuals with thick or curved nails have a higher chance of getting this kind of nail. Typically, the ingrown toenail is common among older adults.
Why do I have an ingrown toenail pus pocket?
The ingrown toenail pus can be caused by different factors. For instance, cutting the toenails too short, or that choosing to round the edges of your nail may cause it to begin growing into your skin. Additionally, when you wear socks or shoes that do not fit properly, you may cause ingrown toenails.
When you wear very tight shoes, there is always the possibility that they could press your nail into the toe, and this will cause it to start growing towards the skin.
It is also possible to get ingrown toenail pus when your toe becomes hurt; by, for instance, getting, it stabbed. Such an injury will lead the nail to grow towards the skin. Also, when you continuously repeat activities that are likely to injure your nail, such as kicking a football, it will lead to ingrown toenails.
Signs and symptoms
It is possible to classify ingrown toenail pus into three main stages, depending on their severity:
- End of your toe will become red and will be accompanied by mild swelling
- The toe may start to feel warm, and will in many cases be very painful to touch
- No drainage or pus
- The toe will become increasingly red, very swollen, as well as painful
- You may start to notice the presence of yellow or white-colored pus around the affected area
- At this point, there is a likelihood that you could have developed an infection
- The pain, swelling, and redness symptoms are highly increased
- Granulation tissue will start to form and will contribute to the discharge of pus, as well as to the swelling being experienced
- There will be an overgrowth of skin tissue in the area surrounding the toe that is affected
- A more severe infection fever is likely to follow
Pus coming out
Ingrown nails or ingrown toenail pus are scientifically referred to as Onychocryptosis, which is a kind of nail disease.
The condition is painful, as the nail will either cut or grow into both sides of your nail beds. Although the ingrown nails are mainly found in the toenails, they can also be found in the fingernails.
When invaded by bacteria, the margin of the nail will start to become red and will begin to swell as well. In many cases, it will also demonstrate the presence of pus or drainage or pus coming out of the pus pocket. It is important to note that some ingrown toenails tend to be chronic, with some coming with repeated episodes of infection and pain.
People with diabetes or the other conditions known to cause poor circulation in the area surrounding the feet are at a higher risk of suffering from complications associated with ingrown toenail pus.
To temporarily relieve the pain, you should consider soaking your foot in a bucket filled with warm water. Also, note that, initially, the toe does not become infected, even though an infection can develop after the nail has been able to penetrate the skin surface and has become ingrown.
In some cases, this infection could start spreading, and it will make the toe to become red, as well as inflamed. You should note that this condition is very different from the nail fungus. Additionally, pus may start to collect in the region that has been affected.
Green pus pocket
An ingrown toenail that starts as a warm, red, and painful swelling of the skin patch hanging on the side of your toe, only to start forming green pus later is known to separate the skin fold that surrounds your nail, as well as the toenail itself.
In many cases, the green pus pocket will start to ooze out and should be viewed as an indication of an infection having taken place.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria have often been blamed for the emergence of ingrown toenail pus. The bacteria is highly present on the skin, and will in many cases be harmless until the skin is punctured. The puncture creates an entry point for the bacteria.
Other causes of this bacteria, such as Streptococcus and Pseudomonas species, can also cause an infection, even though they are not very common. Apart from providing you with some antibiotics, your doctor may recommend that you soak the infected toenail in warm water at least two times each day. The warm soaks are intended to promote pus drainage, which will, in turn, relieve some of the pain being experienced.
Yellow pus pocket
According to the DermnetNZ website, the yellow-colored pus pocket is a sign that the infected toenail is at stage two of the three stages discussed earlier. In some cases, the ingrown toenail pus may appear greenish-yellow in color.
As is the case with the yellow pus, this pus pocket will also require the immediate attention of your doctor, to allow for proper diagnosis as well as treatment. There is a likelihood that your doctor could prescribe a dose of antibiotics, or provide you with a cream to be applied in the area, while also recommending additional treatment options such as simple warm water soak, or surgery in extreme cases.
Ingrown toenail pus is not only painful, but it can also pose serious challenges when it comes to treating it. The reason being that they can easily be infected, are in many cases, a recurring problem. If you notice that the ingrown toenail has developed an infection, you should not attempt to treat it at home.
According to Dr. Alan K. Mauser, a podiatrist in Louisville, Kentucky, if you find that the ingrown toenail has become infected, the first thing you need to do is ensure that you see a podiatrist. If not infected, you can try out a few home remedies to see whether you will be able to keep the pain at bay, while at the same time ensuring that the ingrown toenail will not come back in the future.
Antibiotics for infections
One of the most popular antibiotics recommended by doctors to people with ingrown toenails is amoxicillin. The antibiotic is penicillin-like, and it targets a specific type of bacteria. It usually will target paronychia, which is typically caused by streptococcus bacteria.
The antibiotic comes in dosage form and works well for virtually all people. There are different suspensions targeting toddlers and infants, for the older kids, there are chewable tablets, while adults have to take the regular capsules or tablets.
Home remedies for ingrown pus pocket
Note: if you suffer from conditions such as poor blood circulation, nerve damage in your foot or leg, or have diabetes, you should not attempt to treat yourself at home.
Ingrown toenail pus is a widespread problem in today’s society. When the side edge or corner of your toenail starts growing into the flesh of the skin that is close by, you can rest assured that it will cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. The condition is more common in toenails, but it can affect the fingernails as well.
If caught early, it becomes very simple to take care of this condition from the comfort of your residence. However, as soon as you notice an infection, you will need to ensure that it is checked out by the doctor. Failure to do so could lead to it developing complications and starting to spread to other areas.
Warm water soak
A person suffering from ingrown toenails should consider soaking their feet in warm water, as it assists in relieving the pain, swelling, and tenderness, all of which are symptoms associated with this condition.
What to do at home
- Take a small foot tub and proceed to fill it with warm water
- Soak the affected feet into the tub, and allow them to remain there for between fifteen and twenty minutes
- You should repeat this process three times each day to get complete relief
A cotton wedge under your nail
After you have taken the warm water soak, you may choose to place a cotton wedge under each of the affected toenails, as it will make it possible for the nail to grow above your skin. It helps in relieving pain, as well as speeding the entire healing process.
What to do at home
- Place your feet in warm water, and then use a soft towel to dry them completely
- Use a blunt pair of tweezers to gently, and carefully lift the nail that is affected
- Roll a small piece of cotton, and place it in the area between the skin and the nail
- Every time you soak your feet in the warm water, you will need to replace the cotton to ensure that you do not get an infection
Important to note: when starting out, there is a likelihood that you will experience some pain, but with time, it will start to lessen. Ensure you do not push the cotton roll further than the skin can allow.
Scientifically referred to as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is very effective when it comes to dealing with ingrown toenail pus. The salt assists in softening the skin that is surrounding the area that is affected, and this makes it easier for you to draw out the ingrown toe. Additionally, it makes it easier to ease inflammation.
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What to do at home
- Combine a single teaspoon of Epsom salt in a tub that is filled with lukewarm water
- You will need to soak your feet in the solution for at least twenty minutes
- Remove the water from your feet completely, and then use a soft towel to dry the feet
- It is vital to ensure that the remedy is repeated at least three times each week
Apple cider vinegar
ACV also comes in handy when you find yourself dealing with ingrown toenail pus. Apple cider vinegar has useful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which can assist in relieving the symptoms that come with the condition. Additionally, it has a mild acidic nature, which is vital in preventing infections.
What to do at home
- Combine equal parts of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water in a very small foot tub. Take the affected toenail and dip it in the solution for between twenty and thirty minutes. When this time has elapsed, you should proceed to dry the toenail thoroughly.
- Alternatively, you can take a cotton ball and soak it in the raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar before placing it on the affected skin area. Use a bandage to cover this area and leave it there for a couple of hours before finally removing it.
It is considered to be an effective disinfectant, which assists in reducing the risks of getting an infection. It also helps relieve inflammation and pain that comes with having an ingrown toenail.
What to do at home
- Measure half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and place it in a tub that has been filled with lukewarm water
- Take the toenail that is affected, and put it in this solution for about twenty minutes
- You should repeat the process at least two times each day
An effective home remedy that can be used to relieve the discomforts of ingrown toenails such as inflammation, pain, and swelling. Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin, which comes with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and pain-relieving abilities.
What to do at home
- Prepare a paste using half a teaspoon of turmeric powder as well as a small amount of mustard oil. Take this paste and smear it over the toe that is affected, and then cover the toe with a clean bandage. Repeat this process between two and three times each day for one week
- Alternatively, obtain an antibiotic cream that contains curcumin and apply it to the area that is tender before using a bandage to tie it. The application should be done between two and three times each day
- You can also boil a single teaspoon of turmeric powder in one cup of milk. Drink the resulting solutions at least two times each day to help ease the pain, as well as assist in speeding up your healing process.
Tea tree oil
The essential oil comes with an antiseptic feature that is useful in relieving pain, as well as reducing the risk that comes with getting an infection caused by an ingrown toenail.
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What to do at home
- Take two drops of tea tree oil and a single teaspoon of your preferred carried oil e.g., coconut or olive oils.
- You should apply this on your ingrown toenail before covering it with a clean bandage.
- Ensure you repeat this process three times each day until you get the desired results.
Note: if you notice any irritation once you have applied any essential oil, it is recommended that you stop using it immediately.
It comes with pain suppressing and inflammation-reducing properties, which any person suffering from an ingrown toenail will find to be very helpful. Its properties assist in alleviating swelling, pain, and inflammation. In addition to promoting healing, it also reduces your risks of getting an infection.
What to do at home
- Take a handful of neem leave and boil them in four cups of water. You will then need to strain this solution and allow it cool for a few minutes. Place the solution in a basin, and place the toenail that is affected by the solution for at least fifteen minutes. It is important to ensure that the entire area is dried completely. repeat this process at least two times each day
- Before you can go to bed, you will need to apply some neem oil to the affected toenail, making sure to leave it in place for the entire night. You have to repeat this process each night until the toenail is healed.
To ensure that your toenails will not become a recurring problem, there is a need to ensure that proper trimming practices are followed. When trimming, ensure you trim the nails straight across, and desist from trying to give them a curved shape to match the shape of your toe.
Additionally, consider filing the nails as a way of eliminating all the sharp edges. A good quality nail clipper, as well as a file, will come in handy for this exercise. It is important to make sure that the toenails are always at a moderate length. Also, note that cutting them too short may mean that they may start digging into your skin as they begin to grow, and ultimately, this will lead to ingrown toenails.
Note: if for any reason, you are not in a position to properly trim your toenails, you should have the nails trimmed by a professional for you. There is less chance of getting hurt when a professional does the trimming.
When you find yourself with an ingrown toenail, it will be important to ensure that you only wear sandals or open-toed shoes, which provides the area that is affected with extra toe room, and this will allow them to breathe easily, facilitating faster growth.
As a prevention measure, make sure always to wear sensible footwear. Remember that one of the reasons behind this condition is wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Wearing shoes that cause too much pressure on the toes may cause the nails to start growing into the tissue that is surrounding your toes.
The ideal option will be to wear shoes that have been made from soft fabrics, as they provide your toe with more room. For women, the best option will be to avoid wearing high heels, as this will allow you to relieve the pressure that is placed on the toes.
According to Dr. Axe, there are very many risk factors that are involved in the development of your ingrown toenails, such as behavioral and anatomic mechanisms. Some experts have suggested that wider nail folds and flatter nails may increase your risk of developing ingrown toenails.
When you incur repetitive trauma such as kicking, stubbing your toes, running, you may find yourself having to deal with ingrown toenails regularly.
Even though there is no strict evidence basis, medical experts have thought that a family history and predisposition, poor foot hygiene, as well as hyperhidrosis are some of the factors that increase the chances of a person getting ingrown toenails.
In the case of adolescence, the feet have been known to perspire at a faster rate, and this causes the skin, as well as the nails, to become soft, which in turn leads to easier splitting. When this occurs, the nail spicules are in a position to pierce your skin laterally.
In older individuals, spicule formation is likely to become a chronic problem, which is caused by the inability of older people to properly care and cut their nails, which is secondary to impaired vision or reduced mobility.
Additionally, the natural aging process is likely to make the toenails to become thicker, and this, in turn, makes them more difficult to trim, and as such, more inclined to put additional pressure on your lateral skin, which can be found at the edges and sides of the nail plate.