If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail before—or know a close friend or family member who has—then you already know how painful, frustrating, and sometimes even scary this condition can be.
Once that nail starts curving into the soft flesh surrounding it, pain, tenderness, and swelling seem sure to follow. Simply putting on a pair of socks or shoes—or, heaven forbid, accidentally bumping your toe against a table leg—could be an exercise in agony. In severe cases, the toe could even become infected.
Most frustrating of all is that, if you’ve tried taking matters into your own hands without seeking professional help, there’s a pretty good chance that nothing you did seemed to help all that much.
But what if we told you that dealing with your ingrown toenail didn’t have to be scary? That, in fact, we could have your toes back to feeling healthy with minimum pain and fuss?
It’s true! And we’ll get to that in a minute. But first:
Don’t Make These Home Care Mistakes
Personal experience has taught many people to fear ingrown toenails.
A big part of that fear probably comes from people not seeking help from their podiatrist at the first sign of trouble. Another possible reason? Misunderstanding what home treatments are capable of, and not knowing how to properly care for ingrown toenail at home.
You see, there’s a lot of misinformation about ingrown toenail home remedies. Unfortunately, even some professional (or at least professional-looking) medical websites are providing advice that we think is dangerous. So, let’s start by going over what not to do:
- Don’t repeatedly cut into the side of the nail with your trimmers or any other sharp object. This “bathroom surgery” can cause the ingrown toenail to worsen over time, and significantly increases your risk of infection.
- Don’t cut a V or notch into the toenail and hope it’ll straighten out as it grows. You’ll only be disappointed. It flat out doesn’t work.
- Don’t try to lift the nail and “splint” it with a piece of cotton or dental floss. Some sites suggest this as a legitimate option, but to be honest we strongly feel it does more harm than good. Symptoms rarely improve, and harmful bacteria and fungi have an easier time getting in.
So, what can you do for yourself at home if you notice an ingrown toenail?
First off, for home care to be of any value, your symptoms should be on the milder side of the spectrum, with no infection present. You should also skip straight to the “seek a podiatrist” step if you have diabetes or any other condition affecting your circulation or nerve health.
If you meet the conditions for attempted home care, simply soak your feet for about 20 minutes in lukewarm water with Epsom salts, once or twice per day. You can also gently massage the side of the nail fold. This can help with the inflammation.
That said, understand that home care may not be sufficient in every case—and may not be recommended if you have more severe pain or your ingrown toenails keep returning. If your condition is getting worse, not better—or you just want to be done with it—you’ve got a better option.
The Fast, Easy, PERMANENT Way to Deal with Your Ingrown Toenail
So, let’s say home care isn’t working—or you have a condition that makes it unwise. What then?
Well, the good news is that seeking help from a podiatrist (for example, one of the fine members of the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona team) is actually the least scary option of all. It’s faster, safer, more reliable—and can not only relieve your current ingrown toenail but make it extremely unlikely that another will ever return.
But how? Here’s what you can expect
It starts with an evaluation, of course. We’ll check the toe and nail to see how severe the problem is, and whether there are any conservative treatment options that might be appropriate. Antibiotics may be prescribed if there’s already an infection.
If we determine that a surgical nail removal is the best choice, we’ll then numb up your toe with a local anesthetic. That way, the procedure itself should be completely painless. Once the toe is good and numb, we’ll carefully cut out a portion of the nail border. In other words, no more ingrown toenail!
But here’s the critical part: in most cases we’ll also recommend removing the portion of the nail root associated with the offending nail border. That means the portion of the nail border we removed cannot grow back, and it is extremely unlikely that your nail can ever become ingrown again—at least along that edge. (Yes, this is true even if you’ve suffered from chronic ingrown toenails since childhood!)
Following the procedure, we’ll lightly bandage your toe and send you on your way.
More good news:
- The entire process, from start to finish, can almost always be performed right in our office, without the need to re-appoint. It’s fairly quick, too.
- Most people experience very little pain after surgery. By the time the anesthetic wears off, a couple of hours later, the vast majority of the discomfort should already be gone—for good.
- There’s almost no downtime. Instead of hobbling around for days or weeks with an ingrown toenail you can’t handle on your own, you could be back to normal activities within 24 hours of your surgery.
As you can see, there’s really no reason to be afraid of your ingrown toenail, or your ingrown toenail surgery. Aside from that first shot of local anesthetic, it’s generally pretty painless—both literally and figuratively. Even our young children patients tend to tolerate it extremely well.
So, if you’re ready to stop the pain and get on with your life, give our office a call! You can schedule at either office—Gilbert or Chandler—by dialing (480) 963-9000.