Ouch! Do you suffer from ingrown toenails?

Do certain toes hurt while wearing shoes, or even just by touching bed sheets – and you can’t quite figure out why? You could likely be suffering from having ingrown toenails, which are extremely painful, but common. Every time you breathe a sigh of relief that it’s healed itself, it tends to come creeping back annoyingly before you know it! Dealing with your own nail cutting incorrectly or simply not attending to what’s a buildup of a lot of pain can lead to a very serious problem. Our feet are more important than we give them credit for, and even a simple thing like finding the precise length to keep your nails trimmed can be an endless case of trial and error – but some people have found that’s really the true answer to beating the pain.

If the pain is truly unbearable, you might want to see a dermatologist or podiatrist to get the entire nail removed (yes, we’re flinching too!), but keep in mind that even an extreme measure like that still means that there’s a 70% chance of ingrown pain returning when the nail grows back. To get a little more technical and to the root of the issue, it works like this: your nail grows from what’s called the matrix, which is located underneath the part of the skin and is attached to the cuticle. Thus, a better alternative to removing your entire nail is opting to remove the part of the matrix that’s responsible for creating the nasty part of the nail that keeps getting trapped under your skin. This can take place with chemical removal, using phenol or sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).

So, if you want to stop wincing every time you put on a pair of closed shoes – weigh your options carefully. Talk to your pedicurist or podiatrist about finding the right length to cut your nails (and don’t try do it yourself if it keeps giving you problems), consider removing the entire nail or just part of the matrix. No one wants to suffer ingrown toenails forever, so the faster you deal with them, the better!

Source: Exploring Postoperative Outcomes for Ingrown Toenails. NaOH vs Wedge Resection Techniques. Jorgee Perez-Rey, PhD et al. Derm Surg 2014;40:281-287

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