Ingrown Toenails: What Not to Do

by | Apr 12, 2018

Have you ever had an ingrown toenail before?

If not, count yourself among the fortunate. If you have, you already know. It hurts.

Plus, it’s aggravating! After all, toenails are supposed to grow out. They have one job, and one direction to go. But when they get off track, the soft skin of your toe tip is right in the line of fire.

And once that toenail starts digging in, it isn’t going to turn around until you take action.

That means:

  • Pain that gets worse and worse over time.
  • Toes that are so sensitive and tender, even a slight bump can have you reeling. Sometimes even putting on shoes can get dicey.
  • An ever-increasing risk of infection. That’s a significant problem since circulation in the toes is so slow—and that goes double if you have diabetes.

I think you get the point. Ingrown toenails are not fun. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Painful though they may be, ingrown toenails are a very simple fix for a podiatrist like Dr. Joel Foster. In fact, we can clear up the problem for you—permanently—in office during your very first appointment. Just stop by, and we’ll fix it for you.

Simple as that.

But in order to convince you to make the call, we probably should spend a little more time talking about what not to do.

Don’t Ignore It

“Yeah, it hurts, but it doesn’t hurt that bad.”

Okay, tough guy. We admire your resolve. But there’s really no reason to wait, and a lot of good reasons not to.

For starters, it’s probably not going away on its own. And even if it does, it could take a loooooong time.

But more importantly, ignoring or delaying treatment just gives the injury more time to worsen and develop an infection.

Trust us when we say infections are nasty enough on their own. Pus, discharge, foul odor, tons of swelling. Your foot won’t be a pretty sight.

But a serious infection could develop into an open sore or abscess. Potentially, it could deepen and even reach the bone. If you don’t do anything at all about your ingrown toenail until it reaches this stage, you might end up needing a more major surgery to contain the problem. That very much includes the possibility of amputation.

Again, we can fix an ingrown toenail permanently at our office and completely take away your pain, literally in less than an afternoon. So, what exactly are you waiting for?

Ingrown Toenail

Don’t Try to Fix It Yourself

“Okay, Mr. Foot Doctor, if treating ingrown toenails is so easy why don’t I just do it myself?”

Well, these days success rates for open heart surgery are pretty good, too, but you probably don’t want to handle that one on your own.

In fairness, there’s a lot of information (and misinformation) out on the Internet about home remedies for ingrown toenails. Foot soaks. Cotton balls. Dental floss. (Seriously). A lot of that info even comes from fairly reputable websites.

But if you ask us, we say don’t bother with ’em.

Why?

Well, some of these treatments just flat out don’t work. (Cutting a “V” notch in your nail, for example, has never once worked in the history of the world.)

And even the ones that can work—like soaking feet and lifting the nail—just don’t make a lot of sense from a risk versus reward perspective.

Let’s say you have to travel 100 miles to a destination. Would you rather:

  1. Take a brand-new luxury car down a calm and pristine stretch of well-lit, freshly paved, highway, or
  2. Ride a rusty tricycle along a pothole-covered busy road on the edge of a cliff, in 100-degree heat.

I mean, option B can work, right?

It’ll just take way longer, be way more uncomfortable, have much lower odds of success and much higher risk of accidental disaster.

Okay, we’re exaggerating a bit to make a point, obviously. But the point is a good one. Your home remedy isn’t going to be much fun. It’s gonna drag out. There’s a decent chance it won’t work. And the risk of infection always looms until healing is complete.

In the end, it’s hard to justify when you’ve got a much better option at your disposal.

DO Give Us a Call

So why is calling our office and scheduling an appointment so much better?

Relieving an ingrown toenail is a minor procedure for a podiatrist like Dr. Joel Foster. We do these all the time. You don’t need to re-appoint after the first visit—we’ll take care of you right then and there.

You won’t need general anesthesia—just a bit of local anesthetic to numb the toe right before the procedure. You shouldn’t feel a thing during the ingrown toenail removal itself, and when the numbing agent wears off a couple of hours later the vast majority of your ingrown toenail pain should be gone.

Unless your ingrown toenail is really severe, we won’t have to take the whole nail off—just a sliver off the edge causing the problems.

If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem in your life, we can even get rid of the nail matrix along that same edge of the toe—which means that part of the nail will not grow back. In other words, it’s intended to be apermanent solution. While recurrence isn’t impossible, the risk is very low.

What about down time?

Immediately after your appointment, you can walk right out of our office.

We do recommend you take it easy and keep your feet up the rest of the day. If there’s still a little soreness, you can take an OTC anti-inflammatory as directed.

But beyond that? Most people are back to school, work, and other everyday activities within a day or two. If you play sports or do other vigorous activities, you may need to wait a few extra days for those.

All in all? It’s the best treatment option for ingrown toenails by far.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want your ingrown toenail pain good for good, give us a call at (816) 246-4222.

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