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Author Topic: ingrown toenail (sorry)
RivalOfTheRose
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right side of right big toe.... I think I trimmed it too short....

HELP! What do I do?

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Juxtapose
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Have your doctor refer you to a podiatrist, who can cut it out in a simple surgery.

Don't bother with trying to put cotton under it. In my experience, this "remedy" is amazingly ineffective.

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MattP
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Second the podiatrist. He'll numb it and cut it out in a 15-minute procedure.
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Fitz
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All that might not even be necessary. Did it cut and get infected? I had an ingrown toenail in the exact same spot a few years ago. The doctor just cut the nail back, no numbing, and it took about 1 minute. He gave me antibiotics for the infection, and told me to soak it in warm water every night, and to massage the skin back so that the nail would grow in straight. I did that for about a month and the nail grew back fine, and I haven't had any problems since.
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Belle
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I've had lots and I've always self-treated similar to what Fitz is describing. Sometimes I'll just grit my teeth and let my husand cut that whole side of my nail out...it hurts, a lot.

My daughter, on the other hand, has had them on every side of both big toes and had the surgery at the podiatrist 4 times. (She was a ballet dancer....this is a common result of wearing toe shoes.) She has no problems and no pain.

I think I am going to wind up going that route. Just seems easier and much less painful than going through it over and over. In my experience, they tend to recur.

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Juxtapose
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I think that sums up my experiences as well. The home cures were either not effective or only temporarily so, and most were quite painful.

I haven't tried the having your primary-care doc take care of it themselves. Either way, I think going in will save you some pain and trouble in the long run.

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Nighthawk
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I wouldn't recommend my method, but I had an ingrown on my right foot for years until I performed surgery on myself.

Usually, you have to cut the nail back all the way down to the root. Even with that, my nail kept growing back the wrong way over and over again. It was brutally painful.

I went to three doctors who "fixed" it, only to have it come back. When I did it myself, that was the end of it. Doing it myself was far from pleasant, though. I'd rather not get in to the details here.

I should open a practice... [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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I've done it myself, too. And it is indeed agonizing. It's astonishingly painful. I mean, I've had some fairly major injuries, but I've only cried from pain twice in my life -- once when I trimmed back my own toenail.
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Tstorm
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As a runner, I'd like to say that this thread hurts.

(I trim my toenails straight across, no curve, so the toenail has a lower chance being ingrown.)

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Geraine
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The last one I tried to cut out myself. About halfway through I started to wuss out but I figured I had to finish what I started.

I ended up at the doctors office later that day and got a good scolding from my doctor.

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Belle
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The procedure at the podiatrist is extremely easy...I don't know why I'm putting it off. It takes about 15 minutes, as said already and you get nice and numb. Then they put something on the nail bed that prevents it from regrowing, so your chances of it recurring are very small.

I've taken my daughter to have it done four times, once when she was only 12 and she had no trouble at all with the procedure. Said the shots of the lidocaine weren't even that painful.

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dantesparadigm
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I second most of what's been said. I had one on each toe consistently for over a year. They were just awful and incredibly painful. I tried giving myself surgery, which was indescribably (in polite company) unpleasant. I went to the podiatrist and within twenty minutes it was done and I never had a problem again.
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The Pixiest
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For those of you doing toe surgery on yourself, try cocking your leg ankle to knee until your foot starts to go numb. That really helps me when I do it.

Also don't forget to sterilize your instruments. Too many times I've gone light on the alcohol and an infection is worse than the ingrown nail.

If you do get an infection, soak in salt water just as hot as you can stand it a couple of times a day till the water goes tepid.

And if all this doesn't work, you can get the nail cut out in any walk-in clinic. You don't need a podiatrist. The doc will give you a shot to numb the pain (though the shot hurts like a dirtyword) pry the thing up and cut it off. It'll be uncomfortable for a few days.. like you trimmed too close... but it'll be fine.

*sigh* Yeah, I've lived with this my whole life.

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TomDavidson
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I wonder why it hurts so much, actually. Nerve density?
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scifibum
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Let me try Pixiest's post again:

For those of you doing toe surgery on yourself...DON'T.

(this is very much a do as I say, not as I do post....)

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The Pixiest
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Tom: prolly cuz you've got these breaky little toes in a position to get really hurt just all the time. People with number feet weren't as careful with them and got some serious damage that impaired their possibility of surviving to a child bearing age.
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The Pixiest
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scifibum: In the words of my little brother to his 9 yr old daughter, "Man up." =D
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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I wonder why it hurts so much, actually. Nerve density?

The times I've gone to a specialist to do it, they've used a local anesthesia.

And, thankfully, it was my big toe and I have big feet (size 13); I can't imagine having the necessary precision to do this on a smaller toe.

Really want to know the details?

(If you squick easily, don't read on.)


It's not just a matter of cutting the ingrown part off; you have to cut it all the way down to the root and then remove the root to be sure it won't happen again. Considering that the nail is still attached to the skin the entire length - from just shy of the tip to the root - it's not particularly pleasant separating it.

Not to mention that once you reach the root you have two options: cut the muscle attached to it or simply remove the part you're going to remove from the rest of the root by force. This to me was the hardest part: basically hold your breath, close your eyes and yank it out. It's not the most graceful of methods, but it beats cutting in to other parts of the toe.

And it bleeds... a lot.

And, throughout all this, in order to maintain everything sterile you need alcohol, and once you break the skin it just adds to the experience.


I do not recommend it to anyone by any means, but after having it for close to two years and going to three specialists, I figured it was worth doing it.

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Samprimary
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Going to a clinic to have it fixed is easy, mostly painless, super convenient, and minimizes the risk of infection. Unless you're stranded in the desert with Bear Grylls, going the DIY route means you're a silly person.
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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
...going the DIY route means you're a silly person.

I'm flattered... I think. [Big Grin]
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