Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
I have been cutting my toe nails so that they are curved just like my finger nails. They look so much better cut that way. Now suddenly my big toe is all red and painful at the edge of the nail. It hurts. What should I do?
Ahhh, you cut your toe nails to match your finger nails? While I can appreciate a bit of symmetry in your life, I think you need to find it in other areas.
Toe nails need to be cut straight across. If you file them down in the corners, you run the risk of developing onychocryptosis. And that sounds terrible – if you can pronounce it. Just imagine having to admit that you have onychocryptosis when you can’t pronounce it.
In common terms, it sounds like you have an ingrown toe nail. They can be pretty painful. There is a suggested home remedy but please just do what I did and go to the doctor.
I do not have to imagine having this problem, I have had this (not because of a desire for symmetry). While it hurt before the treatment, the treatment was fairly simple. The biggest thing I remember about it was that the doctor sprayed a numbing spray on my toe and it was really cold. After that I didn’t feel anything. (And I certainly did not watch to see what he was doing. Really, why would you watch?) While I was not watching, the doctor made a small incision and removed the offending piece of toe nail and treated the infection. Once again, it did not hurt. I also went back for a second appointment and the doctor used a laser to try to ensure that the problem would not return. Once again the really cold numbing spray was used and the laser did its job. The next thing I knew it was done. I have not had a problem since the treatment a few years ago.
While filing or cutting your toe nails in a curve is one way to get an ingrown toe nail, there are others. It seems that some people just have toe nails that are too large. Sometimes it can be as simple as stubbing your toe or getting your foot stepped on that can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Oh and make me cringe. (All I have to do is think about stubbing my toe and I shudder.)
Of course my old favorite can be the culprit. Those ill fitting shoes will just cause a myriad of problems, it seems.
Diabetic patients need to see the doctor as soon as possible. People with diabetes are at risk for dangerous foot and leg problems. They should never hesitate to go and have their feet checked.
If an ingrown toe nail is infected and goes untreated, it can spread the infection through the toe and into the bone.
So, get that toe fixed so you will be back with pretty toe nails before you know it.
Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comment section below. I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
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