EVER feel a sharp pain at the corners of your big toe? Take a peek at your digits.
If the edges of your nail are pushing — if not growing! — into the skin, then that’s probably an ingrown nail bothering you.
A mild case of ingrown nail can cause the skin next to the nail to become tender or hard, which is painful when pressure is applied. An ingrown is not eventually going to burrow clean through your toe, but if it gets infected, then it could bleed, ooze pus, cause constant pain, and might even lead to some freaky skin overgrowth.
Ingrowns typically occur on your big toe because the skin is chunky up there but it could also happen on the others. Common reasons include:
- Just genetically bad toenail shape
- Shoes that are too tight or narrow
- Injury from stubbing your toe or dropping something on it
- Playing sports that involves kicks such as football
- Improper hygiene (like walking around with damp feet all day)
- The best way to prevent it is through cutting your toenails straight across and not curving the edges. That way it encourages them to grow straight up and not into your fleshy parts. This is the best DIY prevention method!
- Don’t cut them too short to preserve the shape. There’s no need to hunt down every trace of white with your clippers.
- Don’t wear shoes and socks that are too tight. It will also help you avoid LeBron feet.
- Soaking in warm water
- Wedging cotton in between the skin and nail to push it away
But, real talk, if your ingrown is bad enough to bother you constantly, the best bet is to visit a podiatrist (that’s a foot doctor, fam) for a proper treatment aka surgical nail removal or narrowing and it could cost from P3,000 to P5,000 depending on your doctor. Afterwards, you need to stick to open shoes/tsinelas for a few days but live blissfully pain-free afterwards.
Cutting it yourself doesn’t help so much since nails have a tendency to grow back the same way, and considering the amount of time we spend on our feet, you don’t want a chronic problem down there!
This story originally appeared on FHM.com.ph.