How to deal with a dreaded ingrown toenail!

The pain of having an ingrown toenail can leave you hobbling around scared of the next knock that will make you keel over from the pain. You might be scared to even let a slight breeze brush your toe in case it leaves your toe throbbing. But you don’t have to just bow down and take the pain. Instead, there are quite a few options that will help you slay your evil ingrown toenail, as well as stop it from rising to attack you again!

How to conquer an ingrown toenail

The first port of call if you have a very bad or painful ingrown toenail should be your doctor's surgery, a chiropodist or a podiatrist. You should definitely go to them if the toenail has become infected. The signs of infection are quite noticeable as it will be red, swollen and may have yellowish ooze coming from it. A doctor will be able to treat this by either giving you antibiotics to clear the infection or by sending you to have the toenail surgically removed by a chiropodist or podiatrist. Don’t worry, it’s not a large or painful surgical operation.

However, if caught early the ingrown toe nail might be quite small and not infected which means you can try to treat it at home. The aim of the game is to stop the nail from growing into your skin instead of over it.

1. Soak your toe in water - preferably warm salty water - for 10 minutes. This will help soften the skin around the ingrown toenail. Make sure you dry the skin properly afterwards

2. Once it is soft enough, take a small cotton bud and push the skin from over the ingrown toenail, then push down on the skin and away from the nail. Do this from the root of the nail to the end for a week or more. This will start to train your nail to grow over the skin, not into the skin

3. As the nail starts to grow more, place a small piece of dental floss or cotton wool under the toenail corner. This will help the nail grow over. Change the floss or wool every day for a few weeks

4. At no point should you cut the toenail or dig into the ingrown toenail. Only trim a nail when it has grown long enough to pass the end of the toe. When you do cut it, cut straight across and never curve the edges at the sides. Over time, you should be able to train an ingrown toenail to grow properly.

If you do try this make sure you do not use a toenail cutter until the nail is long enough, and when you cut your nail don’t dig into the corners as this could break the skin a cause an infection. If you do find it too painful and see an infection starting, go to your doctor or a podiatrist.