Ingrown toenail

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boobesque | 12:12 Sat 23rd Dec 2006 | Health & Fitness
6 Answers
i think i have an ingrown toenail, is there anything i can do whilst i am waiting to see a doctor? Or even better is there a way i can treat it myself without having to see a doctor?


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Hiya boobesque,

I had one a couple of months ago. I went to the doctor and he gave me antibiotics, but said I should soak my foot in either salt water or in water with antiseptic in a couple of times a day. Was no better a week later, and was given different antibiotics. They still didn't seem to work for me. In the end I perservered and managed to cut the piece of nail out that was sticking in my toe (it DID hurt, but I was determined!). That solved the problem and it's growing back normally now.

I would advise soaking it as the doctor suggested. Oh, I also jammed a piece of cotton wool soaked in antiseptic in the gap between nail and toe and covered with a plaster to hold it in. This helped to force them apart a little, and was more comfortable.

Hope it's better soon.
i've suffered from an ingrown toenail, on and off for years, and the best thing i can suggest is tuck a little bit of cottonwool under the toe nail where it's sticking in...this will lift it up a little and provide some relief.
(Just remember to change the cotton wool quite often to prevent infection.)

i wouldn't go hacking at it to dig the nail out of where it's sticking in - apart from being bl00dy painful, it could get infected.

and always remember to cut your nail straight across.

hope this helps.

Question Author
Thanks, your answers lead me to believe it may not be an ingrown toenail, my mum thought it was, but my nail is out at the top, and the bit that hurts is down the side and its a bit swollen and has been bleeding, but i cant feel any nail where it shouldnt be!
Will soak it later and see if that helps
Hi. It does still sound like an ingrowing toe nail.

Suggest some pain relief.

Also a call to a nurse at nhs direct 0845 46 47 would be a good idea.

If you need a bit of minor "surgery" well worth paying for a chiropodist rather than letting your doctor have a go!
Question Author
Thanks, i would trust my GP to be honest as he is excellent, but it doesnt hurt now, yesterday some of the hard skin came off (sorry!) and since then its been fine, its not even red now, will keep an eye on it though as i certainly dont want a repeat experience!
What happens is that you cut your nails ok, but a small piece on the side gets left and forms a spike that grows forward with the rest of the nail. Its the curved bit at the side that does it. So next time you cut your nail again and because the spike piece is now hidden youcut to where you think the edge is, but not really and the spike gets bigger and eventually starts to hurt.

The permanent solution if it is really bad is for the chiropodist or nurse to soak the toe in antiseptic and warm water, anaesthetise the toe and cut out the offending piece. They then cut a "V" shaped nick in the middle of the toenail so that the sides can squeeze in and grow properly.

In extreme cases where this doesn't work they take the nail off completely and hey presto it grows back just like new and no more problems.

Don't wear tight shoes.

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