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Does Soaking Your Ingrown Toenail In Epsom Salts Fix The Problem?

A few times every year, we see patients who were under the impression that they could fix their ingrown toenail by doing regular Epsom salt baths. They will have usually tried 3-4 baths over a couple of weeks before they book in to see us because their ingrown toenail hasn’t gone away.

This comes as no surprise to us – while Epsom salts may have many benefits, a cure for ingrown toenails is not one of them. Here’s why.

 

Epsom Salts: What Are They & Do They Do?

Epsom salts are nothing like your regular salt. It is a natural mineral salt containing sulfate and magnesium. While many people talk about the benefits of Epsom salts, they are really talking about the benefits of magnesium, which is thought to help reduce inflammation, help sports performance and recovery, assist in pain relief and reducing muscle soreness, relieve stress, and other similar benefits.

Interestingly, these are the benefits found in some smaller and larger studies looking at magnesium, often ingested, not soaking in it via salt baths., As Epsom salts contain magnesium, it is thought that they may have some of these beneficial effects too – though this is not proven.

 

Ingrown Toenails: A Quick Overview

An ingrown toenail is one where part of the toenail itself (often a sharp nail spicule) pierces the skin surrounding the toe and grows into it as the nail naturally grows. They are often extremely painful, making wearing shoes that press against the toe very uncomfortable. They can have a range of causes, from poor nail cutting habits to tight footwear to injury to the nail and more.

For more information about ingrown toenails, click here.

 

Epsom Salts For Ingrown Toenails

To treat an ingrown toenail successfully, and importantly alleviate the pain, the cause of the problem must be fixed. With the cause being that part of the nail has pierced the skin and is growing into it, it is only by removing this piece of nail that the cut in the skin can heal and close. 

Unfortunately, an Epsom salt bath does not remove the nail from within the skin. What it may do is help relieve some pain, but this is only a temporary measure. It won’t be long before walking with a nail still piercing into the toe starts giving you discomfort and pain again. This is why Epsom salts are not a cure for ingrown toenails.

What is a cure for ingrown toenails is a partial nail avulsion.

 

Permanently Correcting Ingrown Toenails

A partial nail avulsion removes the sharp nail spicule that is embedded in the skin, allowing the skin to heal and your pain to go. It is a professional, safe and effective solution and one of the most common procedures carried out in our clinic.

It is a permanent treatment because as well as removing the small piece of nail, we also destroy the nail-growing cells at the base of the nail, meaning your ingrown toenail on that side will not recur. 

 

The Benefits Of A PNA Include:

  • The procedure is done simply in-clinic
  • The total appointment time typically doesn’t exceed 60 minutes (with the procedure time typically around 20 minutes)
  • The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic so is pain-free
  • You do not need to take any additional time off work/school following the procedure and can go home immediately
  • You do not need any special boots or braces while the toe heals
  • The procedure causes very little post-procedure discomfort, however, painkillers can be taken should discomfort arise
  • We dress your toe, provide you with a take-home dressing pack and re-dressing instructions
  • We monitor your progress to ensure it is healing well

Recovery time is anywhere from two weeks to two months barring any complications such as infection. We provide you with all the dressings, topical antibacterial solutions and ointments, the post-op shoe and aftercare instructions, all tailored individually to your needs.

 

Ready To Say Goodbye To Your Ingrown Toenail For Good?

Book your appointment with our experienced podiatrists by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here.

 

 

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About the author

Hanan Kane