How Do I Treat an Ingrown Toenail?

This article here is written purely out of experience and experience alone. I have had an ingrown toenail 3 times and each time I have had to go to the doctor to have it removed. It is very painful and just simply a nuisance. Everywhere you go, you need to be sure not to stub your toe on anything or you have to watch for other people stepping on your foot. If you are wondering if you have ever have had an ingrown nail, you probably have not had one. You would know it if you did.

How Do You Get Ingrown Toenails?

More often then not, you will get an ingrown toenail due to poor grooming. When cutting your toenail, you do not want to cut it very short at all. The shortest that your nail should be is lined up with the end of your toe. If you cut the nail too short, then every time pressure is applied by walking the skin around the nail will curl up and surround the nail. This will cause the nail to grow and cut into the skin. Also, if the nail is cut too short it will naturally want to grow out and will start to grow into the sides of your toe. Other causes tend to be improper shoe or sock size and injuries such as stubbing your toe or having something fall on it.

How Do I Treat an Ingrown Toenail?

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If you manage to treat your toe prior to it being infected, then it is possible for you to treat it yourself. The biggest known remedy is soaking your foot in a salt bath for about 10 minutes. This can cause the skin around your toe to be more pliable and it may be possible to dig the nail out and clip it. If this does not work, you next step is to see the doctor. Despite what you have heard, cutting a “V” near the side of your toe does absolutely nothing. It is believed to cause the nail to want to grow together, pulling the ingrown nail out from inside your toe. This does nothing and if you have an ingrown toenail, it is actually worse to cut it anymore than it already is. Your best bet is to soak it and apply an antibacterial solution such as Neosporin to try and prevent an infection.

In the event that your toe is already infected, it is best to see a doctor. If your toe is infected, bloody, and has pockets of pus, you are opening yourself a new can of worms trying to play doctor. Chances are that you do not have sterile enough tools to perform your own little surgery thus creating more chances for bigger infections. I tried this myself and best case scenario was pain and more encouragement to go to the doctor. When you are at the doctor they will try to do as little as possible to remove the ingrown nail. By this I mean that there are possibilities of having your whole nail removed permanently and having the nail bed killed with an acid solution. Most times they will try to remove a strip parallel to the side of your toe. In severe cases, or in cases where you are consistently having ingrown nails, they will remove the side of the nail as mentioned above and kill the root or nail bed with the acid solution. This is to prevent the nail to grow in the future. In cases where this does not solve the problem, you will more than likely have the nail removed permanently. You will then have your toe wrapped up and you should be as good as new the next day.

How Do I Prevent an Ingrown Toenail?

The most important thing you can do to prevent ingrown toenails is to cut your nails correctly. You do not want rounded toenails or to have the nail cut any shorter than the end of your toe. If you happen to have any sharp points toward the sides of your toe you can file them if possible. You always want to cut your toenail straight across. I was informed that scissors were a good way to do this.

You also want to be sure that you have well fitting shoes and socks. Not too big or too small. Either way, you can have unwanted pressure causing the skin to swell up around your toe and allow the nail to cut into it. And accidents do happen, but stubbing your toe or dropping something on it can cause future problems as well. Just be sure that whatever you do, you use common sense and seek medical help if needed.