If you care for your toenails, you probably want them short. However, if you let them get too short on the sides, you are at risk for an ingrown toenail. Many people taper the corners of the nail so it curves to the shape of the toe. However, this may encourage the toenail to grow into the skin of the digit. The sides of the toenail must curl down and dig into the skin. An ingrown toenail also happens when you wear shoes too tight or too short. If you suffer from an ingrown toenail, consider removal at the podiatrist’s office. What nonsurgical measures can I try before the toenail removal procedure? Ingrown toenails must be treated as soon as possible. If you cannot get to the doctor, or your removal isn’t scheduled for a few days, you should:
- Soak the foot in warm water a few times each day.
- Keep the foot dry and in a white sock.
- Wear comfortable shoes with large toe boxes.
- Take ibuprofen or naproxen.
- Avulsion – Tearing away of the nail.
- Ablation – Removal by mechanical methods.
- Wedge resection – Removal of just the outer corners of the nail.
- Recovery from nail plate and matrix removal – The nail will not appear the same as other nails after surgery. Recovery takes 6-8 weeks. During the first 24 hours, keep the gauze and dressing on the toe, and keep the leg elevated. Soak the toe in warm Epsom water, and apply antibiotic ointment. Avoid any pressure, and wear loose-fitting shoes.
- Recovery from partial nail fold and matrix removal – After this procedure, you should wear the bandage for the first 3-4 days. Elevate the leg, and soak the toe in warm salty water. You cannot wear shoes for 2 weeks but may cover the foot with a loose sock.