Got ingrown toenails? Do they suck ass? Of course they do. Well I'm here to help.
I've had to deal with an ingrown toenail on my right big toe for about 4-5 years now, because when I was a younger teen I stupidly cut my toenail rounded instead of straight because I did not know better. About a year and a half ago I discovered a long term short term fix that keeps it from hurting, prevents infection, doesn't hobble you, and doesn't require that you go to a doctor and get the treatment they do. (Which I am personally afraid of because I watched a few of them and it looks scary as fuck, plus I've heard that a lot of foot doctors do the injections in the wrong spot then tear out your nail root without proper anaesthetic.
So first let's talk a bit about ingrown toenails.
An ingrown toenail, if you don't know, is a condition where (simultaneously) the edge of your toenail grows into the nail groove of your toe, and the skin of the nail groove grows over the edge nail plate. The most common causes of this are either careless nail cutting (cutting the front edge of your toenail behind the front 1-2mm of your nail groove generally starts ingrown toenails) and heavy damage that causes the edge of the nail to be pushed into the nail groove or breakage (i.e. kicking a wall, dropping something heavy on it, etc.)
So basically we're going to fix your ingrown toenail in a few easy steps while avoiding the surgery (If you want to see what the surgery looks like, wikipedia 'ingrown toenail' and scroll down to below the bandaid method. I'm not linking them because it requires looking at them again and they almost made me throw up.)
Disclaimer: This will not CURE or ELIMINATE an ingrown toenail permanently. All this does is allow you to function without pain and prevent infection. If you want it gone for good, SEE A FOOT DOCTOR
Step 1a - Cleaning the wound: (If your ingrown toenail isn't filled with pus, skip to 1b)
If your ingrown toenail is in the earlier stages where it's still infected and filled with pus, drain the pus by using your thumbnail to pull the skin away from the toenail. After preliminary draining, use a toothpick to gently push up the edge of the ingrown toenail so you can get under it. Clean it with a bit of hydrogen peroxide.
Step 1b - Saltwater Bath:
Heavily salt and boil water, and let it cool to tolerable (not comfortable, tolerable). Soak the affected foot in the salt bath for between 15 and 30 minutes so that your skin prunes and the dead edges of your nail groove stand out. This step serves to both make it easier (and therefore less painful) to perform the procedure while also sanitizing the affected area.)
Step 2 - Removing the skin and revealing the nail
Start by drying your foot, then remove the dead edges of the nail groove with nail clippers (like when you take a shower and the edges of your fingernails turn white and get larger). After removing the dead skin, pull back the remaining tissue and perform the same action as in Step 1a (with a clean toothpick). Use (sanitized) nailclippers to cut along the inside edge of the ingrown toenail down to the base of the nail plate. Leave it connected near the base of the nail plate! Do NOT cut into toenail that's still attached to the skin under it, curve the cut to follow the dead nail that came away from the skin.
Step 3 - Removing the nail and damaging the nail root
Use a pair of (sanitized) needle nose pliers to grasp the cut away ingrown nail near the base and pull it back from your toe and away from the ingrown area (back along the knuckle of your toe). This WILL hurt once you get to the root, and it WILL bleed, but this is the only time this will ever hurt, and it provides so much relief. Continue to pull the nail back, slowly so that it doesn't break, until part of the root pulls out and the nail comes away (Post pictures!)
Step 4 - Removing shards
When you develop an ingrown toenail, the nail will grow into the skin along the side of the nail. If you've had it for a while, you'll notice that the skin outside of the ingrown toenail will be slightly bulbous. That's the result of the nail that grew under the skin having fractured in the skin. Sometimes these pieces don't come out with the initial nail removal. These shards will need to be removed to provide complete relief. This step is easy enough, just rub the outside skin of the ingrown toe nail until you feel a shard and then push it towards the freshly cut area. Sometimes you might need to pull it out.
Step 5 - Cleaning
Use hydrogen peroxide or pure liquor (vodka, everclear, etc) to clean and sterilize the area. Roll up a tissue and place it in the cleaned wound and then cover it with a band-aid.
Step 6 - Follow up
Depending on how fast your nails grow, this procedure can last you from 1-3 months to 6+. My nails grow moderately fast, so I get a good 4-6 months out of this before it starts to get uncomfortable and I need to do a follow up. Follow up is easy, all you do is pull the skin back a bit, lift up the leading edge of the nail, and follow step 3 again. It will not hurt this time, as the damaged root will have formed a sort of fracture line along where it was originally damaged. It will also bleed much less.
I've been using this method for a while and I'm so glad I did it. Before, I couldn't do things like run or play soccer or jump around because my ingrown toenail made it hurt more. It also made my job at the time living hell (I worked at a furniture warehouse assembling cabinets, so I was standing on a concrete floor for 8 hours at a time). After doing this, the pain went away completely, and the ingrown area hasn't been infected, irritated, or noticeable since.
Good luck! And remember for fucks sake sterilize your tools before using them.