Caution: This post is kind of gross, however there are no pictures . Besides, most people in the running community are accustomed to much worse.
So about a month back I started to get an ingrown toenail. If you’ve never had one, consider yourself lucky. They hurt; a lot. About 10 years ago I had one on my left foot’s big toe. It was so bad that I had a podiatrist cut it out and then kill off part of my nail bed to prevent it from regrowing. Lauren thinks my toe looks weird, now because of it. I don’t care. Its been 10 pain-free years.
Enter right foot. The pain was getting pretty bad and I could tell it wasn’t going to resolve itself like it sometimes does. So I soaked my foot and cut the nail for relief. That is a clear violation of Step #2 when dealing with an ingrown toenail. Trying to cut it out yourself is a big “NO.” Not only does it rarely work, it usually encourages the nail to grow further in. On top of that, your bathroom isn’t the most sterile environment. You can easily cause an infection.
What’s Step #1? While researching home remedies, I mad the mistake of clicking on Google’s image search results. Black or missing toenails are gross, but the images I saw of severe, infected ingrown toenails made me retch. So Step #1 is to never Google image search ingrown toenails. Some of you (ha! as if I have readers) are probably going to search it now. I warned you. You probably enjoyed Faces of Death back in the 80’s.
So Step #2 was to not cut it out. The proper way to cut your nail is square. Don’t round the corners off. Also, don’t cut too short. Leave some nail past the quick. That’s Step #
3 4(I’m making this step system up as we go along). In fact, let the affected nail grow a bit longer than normal.
This leads us to Step #
4 3 – soak and sanitize. Soaking your foot makes the nail much more pliable for the next step and using some hydrogen peroxide helps prevent infection. Soaking before cutting your nails makes it much easier and prevents splintering, but remember to leave the nail long for Step #5.
The most crucial step (apart from Step #1), is to wedge the affected area of the nail with wet cotton. Take a cottonball and pull off a small portion (trial and error on the size). Wet it (I used hydrogen peroxide) and roll it into a ball. Take that ball and tuck it snugly under the affected area of the nail. It should cause the nail to slightly lift. This allows the surrounding skin to grow under the nail as it should. I had relief overnight and after 2-3 days no more pain at all. It’s advisable to replace the cotton once or twice a day.
TLDR; What’s the 5 Steps to Remedy an Ingrown Toenail
- Don’t Google image search “ingrown toenail”
- Don’t attempt to cut it out.
- Soak your foot and sanitize with H2O2.
- Leave your nail a little long and stop rounding the corners.
- Place a piece of wet cotton under the affected area.
And you’re welcome for keeping this post image free with the exception of Uncle Joey.