Whether you’re a pedicure pro or a nail newbie, one of the most painful and unpleasant things that can happen to your feet is developing an ingrown toenail. These little buggers are usually caused by improper cutting of your toenails or wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly, causing excessive pressure on your toes and nail beds. If you do happen to develop an ingrown, don’t panic! There’s a simple step-by-step method that will stop a wild toenail in its tracks.
1. Soak your foot in a mixture of Epsom salt and hot water, as hot as you can possibly stand it. Do this for about 15 to 30 minutes at least twice a day. This concoction will soften the toenail for easier removal and prevent the ingrown nail from becoming infected.
2. Carefully trim your toenail, being extra precise around the ingrown section. You don’t want to aggravate it further, so be sure your toenail is cut perfectly straight without any pointed parts near the edges. Toenails that are rounded off are slightly more likely to grow into the skin, causing ingrown nails.
3. Take a small piece of cotton ball and wedge it between the nail and the skin with a pointed nail tool. Make sure not to push too hard or you could hurt yourself. The piece of cotton should form a little ball under your toenail in the corner. This should keep that pesky nail from growing back. Also be sure to replace the cotton daily to keep the nail clean and reduce the risk of infection.
4. The worst potential side effect of an ingrown is it getting infected. Knock out any remaining bacteria with an infection-preventing ointment and keep a Band-Aid over it until it’s healed. Neosporin is a great go-to for this.
5. Make sure you keep up with it! When you’re home, take off your shoes and socks to let your foot breathe. If you treat your feet well and maintain the regiment, your ingrown toenail should be all taken care of within a few weeks.
Ingrown nails are a nasty business and they do happen, sometimes to even the most pedicured of feet. If you find yourself battling one of these, just follow these simple steps for a relatively quick and painless cure. It may even prevent you from having to get surgery to remove the ingrown toenail if ignored. Summer is coming. Keep those feet flip-flop ready!
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