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Help for Ingrown Toenails

Bottom Line/HEALTH: Let’s talk about ingrown toenails. How do you handle an ingrown toenail at home?
Dr. Johanna Youner: At home, I would recommend soaking in warm water with Epsom salts—about one-quart of comfortably warm water, and a half a cup of Epsom salts. Make sure the Epsom salts are diluted in the water, and soak for about 15 minutes. Then a little Neosporin and a band-aid. Repeat.
Bottom Line: Will it easily resolve on its own, by just softening the skin like that?
Dr. Youner: Not necessarily. If it’s not better in a day, see your doctor. It may need a tiny, tiny snip of the nail.
Bottom Line: Should you ever try to dig it out on our own?
Dr. Youner: I would not recommend it. It is the easiest way to turn an ingrown nail into an emergency.
Bottom Line: Does the length or style of a toenail impact your getting an ingrown toenail?
Dr. Youner: Absolutely. Some people have nails like a “C,” like a pincher nail, and that will tend to get ingrown. Sometimes they can grow the nail long enough so that the nail doesn’t get caught anymore…sometimes it just has to be kept shorter. Let your doctor decide on that one.
Bottom Line: Back to the pedicures—I’m very big on pedicures—they always ask you, “Rounded or squared?”
Dr. Youner: Straight.
Bottom Line: So doing it straight…and, in fact, leaving your nails a little bit longer will make it a little bit less likely that you’ll get an ingrown toenail?
Dr. Youner: For most people, yes.
Bottom Line: All right.
Source: Johanna S. Youner, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in private practice and attending physician at New York Downtown Hospital, both in New York City. Dr. Youner is a board-certified foot surgeon and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Date: October 1, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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