Anyone who's ever suffered from this particularly painful problem knows that banishing ingrown toenails is sometimes easier said than done. The good news, however, is that you can get rid of them. Sometimes the remedy hurts, but rarely as much as the ingrown nail itself. Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of your nail basically grows into your skin. It happens for various reasons: your shoes could be too tight; your nails could be too long; and you can even inherit it from parents and grandparents. It typically happens to your big toes, and it sucks. You have to be careful when banishing ingrown toenails because you don't want to risk an infection. These removal methods don't involve any digging, which is both dangerous and painful, and will help you reclaim your pretty feet.
1. The Cotton Method
This is one of the best methods for banishing ingrown toenails I've ever tried. It's a little involved, but the relief it brings makes it more than worth the effort. Start by soaking your foot in borderline hot water with Epsom salts. The salts will also help prevent any infections. The soak is to make your nails softer and thus more malleable. Now, you need tweezers for this, but not because you'll be digging. Rather, you want to take a cotton ball, tweeze a small tuft of cotton from it, and insert it between the ingrown edge of your toenail and your skin. That gives you a comforting bit of cushion, and keeps the nail from further growing into the skin. Slather the area with antibacterial ointment and wrap it up with a bandage. Check your nail each day, adding more ointment as necessary. Ideally, the cotton will also push the nail away from your skin, allowing you to easily, gently, and properly trim your toenail.
2. Keep It Straight
On that same subject, using smart techniques when trimming your toenails will also help banish ingrown nails. I know that it's tempting to give your toenails a pretty, rounded edge; it looks more manicured, especially in warmer weather. However, if you're prone to ingrown nails, it's better to go with a straight trim, and to keep the length pretty moderate. That way, the edges are far less inclined to become ingrown in the first place.
3. Frequent Soaks
Make the same soak mentioned in point one a regular thing. It will feel good to your feet and it will keep your toenails in good condition. It's always a good idea to soak your feet before you cut your nails anyway, because softer nails are easier to trim. Once again, the inclusion of Epsom salts will keep away infections. It's not a bad idea to always moisturize with a good, thick cream afterward, and try to let your toes breathe once in a while. You don't always need to wear socks and shoes.
4. Smarter Shoe Choices
On the subject of shoes, be kind to your toes. If you have a history of ingrown toenails, your shoes could be one of the culprits. If the fronts of your shoes are too tight, then naturally they'll squeeze your toes, and that in turn can affect your nails. Give your toes room to breathe by wearing shoes that fit well and aren't too narrow.
5. Try an OTC Remedy
There are several over the counter remedies for ingrown toenails, some of which work quite well. My mom gets horrible ingrown toenails; I get them from her, and she got them from my grandpa. She swears by Dr. Scholls Ingrown Toenail Pain Reliever, which does indeed relieve pain. However, it also makes it easier for her to then trim her toenails to get rid of the ingrown nail. There are plenty of other treatments available as well, so if you can't stand the pain or need some toe spacers, just do a little research.
6. Practice Proper Pedicures
I've had nail technicians work wonders on my ingrown toenails, but you have to be careful here since, again, digging is bad. If you decide to get yours taken care of by treating yourself to a pedicure, make sure you trust your technician to use a safe method. You also need to make sure that all the instruments are sterilized. If you have a regular spot where you trust all the technicians, you're likely fine. Just try not to choose some random place and jump right into getting your ingrown nails taken care of.
7. Get Thee to a Doctor
Some ingrown toenails go too deep and hurt too much for you to take care of them at home. Rather than putting yourself at risk or hurting yourself more than you need to, go see your doctor. It's possible that a general practitioner can do something or advise a home remedy. Even if not, he or she can likely give you a recommendation to a great podiatrist, who will be able to help.
Anyone can suffer from ingrown toenails; you may get one once or twice, then never again. For some, however, it's a fairly usual occurrence, so hopefully these removal methods will stand in you good stead. Have you ever had an ingrown toenail? How did you deal with it?