Ingrown Toenail Care & Treatment

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I’ve had a couple of toenail tragedies in my day. And if you’ve ever experienced serious foot pain before, then you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Foot pain can make your life miserable.  Every step can be pure torture.

And, if your day-to-day life has you on your feet for hours, there will be no relief.  By the end of the day, you’ll be ready to give up walking for good!

My foot pain was due to an ingrown toenail (…or two).

The simple ingrown toenail is really nothing to take lightly.

With redness or infection, the pain can be quite severe.  And for diabetics, an ingrown toenail can even become life-threatening if not addressed immediately.

Surprisingly, all it takes is a rather insignificant trauma to create a bad situation with your toenails.

 

The Cause Of My Ingrown Toenails

When I was 14, I spent an afternoon outside skating on a neighborhood ice rink with friends.  I knew the skates I had were too small.  But call it pride — or peer pressure — I wasn’t about to quit until the afternoon was done.

For that simple afternoon of enjoyment I paid a big price — for the rest of my life.

As soon as I removed the skates, I knew I had a problem.  Both big toes had developed bruises under the nail that covered the entire nail.  I might just as well have taken a hammer and smashed both toes, as the result would have been about the same.

This was the start of my lifelong battle with toenail issues.

 

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

It took 6 months for both toenails to grow out enough to finally fall off.

During that time, I had to contend with loose flapping nails that would catch on everything.  And a simple stub of the toe would have me hopping in pain for minutes.  At one point I even had to tape the toenails to the toe until they advanced out far enough to be removed.

Okay, 6 months isn’t that bad, except for the fact that now the new nail is a crooked little thing that doesn’t come close to covering the toe.  Sensitive?  You bet!  Without a full-size natural toenail atop the toe, there are a bunch of nerves very close to the surface that are quite sensitive to the touch.  It takes very little pressure to give you a good shot of pain.

Six more months later, and the new toenail finally reached the end of the toe.  All seemed good… for awhile.

Unfortunately, the new nail grew sideways more then the old one, and now I have constant problems with ingrown toenails. The sides tend to curl under, and the inflammation is almost as painful as losing the nail itself.

After another year spent carefully trimming and cutting the nail out along the side, life pretty much got back to normal.  Cutting the nails straight across (once things got back to normal) has returned them to good condition and I’ve gone many years without much issue.

One trick I learned:  It really helped to cut the toenail with a “V” in the center.  That way the nail tended to grow toward that center cut, instead of going deeper on the sides.  Though once an ingrown toenail gets inflamed, the only way to clear it up is to cut down the side and remove any nail that is causing the problem.

You would think something like this would only happen once in a lifetime.

 

My Second Toenail Tragedy

Many years later, I was running while wearing open-toed sandals.  I tripped over a piece of machinery that I didn’t see lying on the ground (it was after dark), and I managed to tear the toenail almost completely off on one foot!

Here we go again…  Though this was messier, with lots of blood, the healing process was about the same.  It actually healed a bit faster, because the old nail was immediately gone, and the new nail was allowed to progress unimpeded.

Most toenail injuries will still generate a new nail.  It may not be as pretty as the old one, but it will do the job.  However, if you damage the bone of the foot where the cells that generate the nail are located, then a new nail may not develop.  Over time, the skin on top of the toe will toughen up and the extreme sensitivity will eventually pass.

No matter what, proper care of your toenails is painfully important.  Inflammation and infection will make walking very hard, and overall a real pain in the… foot!


Things That Help With Ingrown Toenails

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