ZocdocAnswersIs there a solution for my constantly ingrown toenails?

Question

Is there a solution for my constantly ingrown toenails?

I am in my mid-forties. I have been trimming my nails and taking good care of them my whole life. I am aware that I need to not cut them too short or at drastic angles. I use quality toenail clippers whenever giving myself a pedicure. However, both of my big toes seem to constantly experience ingrowth of the nails on both sides of the toes. It is extremely painful and keeps me from pursuing activities I would love to enjoy, such as kicking a soccer ball around with my son. It also causes unsightly inflammation and a dark purple color at the ingrowth. I try to wear the roomiest shoes possible and otherwise have attempted everything I can think of to stop these nails from causing such problems. I am getting desperate. Is there something else I may not be doing, which can help me? What else can a podiatrist do to stop my nails from ingrowth?

Answer

I'm sorry to hear that this has been such a stubbornly persistent issue to you. It does sound like you've been doing the obvious self care things that are usually recommended, such as cutting the nails straight across and avoiding shoes that are too tight in the toes. The only additional thing that you could be doing at home that it sounds like you are not doing is soaking the toes regularly to soften the skin over the nail fold and allow it to be pushed back more easily. Regardless, you've already answered your question, in that the next step is clearly to go see your podiatrist or primary care doctor! There are many additional things that your doctor will be able to do for you. These could include placing a small cotton splint under the nail to elevate it out of the skin fold. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to cut away the nail where it is growing under the skin to allow healing to occur and, in the most refractory cases, sometimes the area that produces this part of the nail needs to be removed so that no further nail elements can grow up into the skin fold. Please call your doctor today!

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