Like many medical issues both large and small the stage that the issue is caught at has a lot to do with how effective the treatment is. Of course an ingrown toenail is nowhere near as serious as many more life threatening issues but for the people dealing with constant pain and extreme sensitivity it is undoubtedly a problem that they want to resolve as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to try in an effort to avoid seeing a doctor:
- Soak the affected foot in warm water for between 10 and 20 minutes a day three times a week if you can. If you don't have a special foot soaking tub just use a bath tub and sit on the side of the tub with a book or magazine if you want. This can help when the pain is in part caused because of dry hard skin being punctured by the ingrown toenail.
- Insert a small piece of cotton between the toenail and the nail in the corner where the problem is occurring. Cotton from a q-tip works well for this.
- If you're going to fuss around with your toe on your own with toenail clippers or the file that comes out of the clippers make sure to sterilize the instrument as best you can by running it under hot water for several minutes. The last thing you want to do is to infect your toenail area.
- Wear comfortable shoes. This may seem obvious but many people don't realize that spending some time in sandals or something similar that doesn't put undue pressure on the ingrown toenail can be very beneficial. If footwear is an issue because of your job speak to your boss about what sort of footwear options you might have. At the very least take your uncomfortable, confining shoes off during the day when you're sitting at your desk and your feet are hidden.
- Visit your local Walgreens or CVS or whatever drug store you have in your area and ask the sales people about products sold in the store for ingrown toenail relief. Often times they'll have special padding or topical solutions that you might want to try out. Occasionally one of these simple solutions might be all that you need.
- If the pain continues buy a product like Outgro (pictured below). This is a topical solution that does an excellent job of eliminating the pain. All you have to do is apply it to the problem area after you shower or a couple of times a day and it basically numbs up the skin around the problem area. With the skin less sensitive not only are pain issues resolved but it also allows you to comfortably correct the ingrown toenail issue yourself with a sterilized instrument like the file on the back of most toenail and fingernail clippers. Depending on where you live you may be able to find Outgro at a local drug store (it's an over the counter medication). If you call around and can't find it or simply don't see it in your local drug store you can order some from amazon.com(which is what I have to do). Part of the benefit of ordering online is (a) you get better deals and (b) it's delivered right to your door. Personally when I've had to order I'll order three or four bottles at a time (still well less than $20 total) so that I always have some in case an emergency painful ingrown toenail pops up or if a friend has a problem I can be their hero by saving the day and giving them a bottle.
- Once the problem area has been treated with Outgro for a few days you can usually fix your own problem by sliding the nail file from the back of a toenail clipper between the nail and toe in the problem area. This creates space between the problem ingrown nail and the skin that it had previously been puncturing. At this point with a little work you should be able to comfortable twist or clip off the ingrown toenail with a little effort. The Outgro solution used to numb the skin in the problem area also serves to weaken the troubled area of the nail so that it can be worked off in a pain free manner.