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Ingrown Toenails Are the Best

icon By: Kurt - Medicine Simply Put
07/30/2011

I love, yes I used the word love, to take care of ingrown toenails. My heart soars when I see them on my schedule.

Something about sliding my metal lifting device under the nail and shoving it all the way to the back of the toenail. Clamping it down.  Oh and then  the good part.  Holding my clamp and turning my wrist and watching the nail come off like a sardine can opening.  It just thrills me.  I should have been a Podiatrist.  I think I missed my calling.

Before shoes we didn’t have toenail problems.  The toes were wild and free and not corralled inside a hard unyielding shoe.  It is that tight toe box that bends the nail to start its journey down into the skin.  In some patients I’ve pulled almost an inch of toenail out of the skin.

Sometimes that nail has been in there so long that it infects the surrounding skin.  The skin turns red, hot, swells, and yellow pus comes out of it.  Patients get impatient with me because when they come in to see me they want the nail out of there right now..

Their irritation with me lessens when I explain that an infected toe has problems absorbing the anesthetic I inject into it because of all the pus being in the way.  We have to get the pus out of there before we can proceed more pain free.

So I have to put them on an antibiotic and have them soak the toe in 1 cup epsom salt to 1 quart hot water for 20 minutes every evening for at least 3 days to draw the infection out of the toe.  Epsom salt has magnesium in it that draws fluid out of tissue.

When they come back for the procedure and I have pulled the ingrown nail out the patient arrives at a moment of decision.  They have the choice of me removing the whole nail or just cutting off the offending portion and leaving a nice straight edge.  They also get to choose whether they want me to use phenol acid to destroy the nail bed so it never grows back (the whole nail or just the part I cut off).

To prevent future ingrown nails and deny me my pleasure they should take a hot shower or bath.  Afterwards when the nail is soft, if they would take A FRESH piece of waxed dental floss and run it under the edge of their nails and pull up it would reverse the nail growing downward.

Just leave the ingrown nail on top of the skin and let it harden, leaving the floss in place to pull again if it doesn’t like its new home and wants to slip back into the skin.

So go ahead.  Take care of your feet, and not let me have any fun at all.

 

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