Toenail infections can be caused in a number of ways. Ingrown nails or improper trimming can cause the skin to break and allow bacteria to enter the area, causing an infection. Getting your nails done at the salon and having your cuticles pushed down may also lead to a toenail infection, especially if the tools have not been cleaned properly, an accident occurs, or if you already have cracked or broken skin.
Toenail infections are very easy to spot and diagnose. You may have a toenail infection if you exhibit one or many of the following symptoms:
Swelling around the toenail
Redness and a tender feeling when touched
Blisters or pus build-up
As mentioned above, visiting a doctor is often unnecessary and toenail infections can be cured at home using one or more of the following treatments:
Using antibacterial and warm soap, soak the affected area in a bowl 3 times a day for up to 20 minutes. If the infection has not cleared within four or five days, visit your doctor.
Most toenail infections do not pus or will go away before it gets to that stage. Should your toenail infection progress to a point where pus is present, give it a gentle squeeze to release the built-up pus. Pus will normally drain away on its own when you use the soaking method, but others are a bit more stubborn. Pricking the area with a sterile pin to help release the pus may be necessary.
Over the counter remedies such as Polysporin have worked wonders for many different infections, and toenail infections are no exception. Apply the cream after using the soaking method for best absorption and efficacy. Do this three times a day after each soaking and apply a band-aid to ensure the cream absorbs into the skin and does not run off on anything else. If the infection persists after 5 days, call your doctor.