Ingrown toenail. Chances are, either you or someone you know has had this. And it can hurt. A lot. So here are some tips to help prevent them from happening and how to combat them when they do appear.
SEE A PODIATRIST (can you see a theme here?). They can provide advice about the correct way to cut and shape your nails and remove any hard skin (callus) or debris which might be contributing to pressure against the nail in a part called the sulcus.
DON'T START DIGGING DOWN THE SIDES. This is a hard one to resist, I know. But sticking your nail scissors down the side of your nail can actually exacerbate an ingrown toenail.
SALT WATER IS YOUR FRIEND. One of the cheapest, but possibly most effective ways to encourage any pus to be expelled is salt water. Ideally you want 2 tablespoons of table salt, enough water to submerge the foot (luke warm) and don't soak the toe for any longer than 2 minutes.
IF IT LOOKS LIKE AN OPEN WOUND, STICK A PLASTER ON IT. Any oozing or red, raw-looking skin should have a sterile plaster/dressing over the top to reduce the chances of infection; however it might be helpful to leave the toe open to the air at night.
NAIL SURGERY ISN'T AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS. Just as medicine has evolved, so has nail surgery. You should be given the option by your Podiatrist about whether to remove the whole nail or just the side/s. Healing time can vary depending on the health of the patient, but you usually don't require any time off from work. And you don't require a special post surgery shoe!
STAY AWAY FROM INGROWN TOENAIL KITS. Waste of your money (need I say anymore?).
KEEP TAPERED TOE-BOXED OR PEEP TOE SHOES TO A MINIMUM. This style of shoe will put pressure on the edges of the nails and can spur on an ingrown toenail.
NOT ALL INGROWN TOENAILS REQUIRE SURGERY. I've had some successful outcomes with treating nails non-surgically and I usually try this option first.