Return of the Ingrown Toenail

Those are not my feet. Mine are way less hairy. And way more prone to ingrown toenails.

I had a nice 5 months without any problems. My ingrown toenail was growing out.

Then clumsy me smashed my big toe against a wall, cracking the nail diagonally into the side of my cuticle. Ouch.

That’s when my nail dove back under the skin of my cuticle. At first it wasn’t painful.

But after a couple weeks of growth, I whacked my toe against a box and the cuticle throbbed. Pain lanced down the side of my toe.

Uh-oh. I know this kind of pain. The cuticle was a tad red. Inflammation.


Called the podiatrist last week and got in Monday at 8:30 AM. Now you know I’m not a morning person so I had to be worried to take a crack-of-dawn appointment.

Doctor agreed that it was inflamed but luckily not infected. No need for antibiotics because I caught it in time. This time. Third time must be the charm.

He sprays it with numbing spray and then cuts the nail. He pries the piece of nail imbedded in my cuticle out. Then he says, “Wow. You are lucky. This time around, your body built a callus around the nail to prevent it from piercing into your skin. Saved you from an infection.”

Thank you toe cuticle for figuring out how to manage the nail shard!

He had to cut it out. It didn’t hurt too bad. Like a 5 on the pain scale of 10. I didn’t swear or even groan.

He put on some antibacterial cream and a band-aid. I have to watch it a few days. Hoping this time the nail grows normal. Otherwise, I’ll have to go back and cauterize the nail so it doesn’t grow into the cuticle anymore.

All this from a bad pedicure in September 2011. Let it be a cautionary tale to all. Cut your own toenails.

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47 Responses to Return of the Ingrown Toenail

  1. Cat Forsley says:

    OMG ……..


    • Thanks Catherine! I like to mix it up with the posts. And this has been an ongoing problem over the past 9 months. Ugh. Never will I ever get a pedicure again.

      Me too. It feels better today than yesterday. It takes a few weeks to months to see how it grows out. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. ouch. been there, done that.

    • I swear my podiatrist will know me better than my GP! ๐Ÿ™‚ At least, I’m getting better at catching it in time. And my body is clever enough to deal with it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. When I was in high school I managed to get my big toe shut in the door of a car. Being a klutz is my sworn duty it seems, and I’m doing it to the best of my ability. About every two years I lose the nail and it grows back. I’ve had the same problem with the ingrown nail. Sigh.

    • OUCH! I don’t even know how my toes keep running into walls and doors. Seems we both got the klutz gene. Wow. I haven’t lost the nail but I’ve have sections of it cut out twice. I’m going to wear sandals all summer and hope that helps the nail have space to come in.

  4. kford2007 says:

    I, too, am a sufferer of ingrown nails. The podiatrist says mine are hereditary. I had to have one cut out last October and it was infected. They sprayed it and put four shots in my big toe cause I’m a wimp over pain. It’s healed up nice with a nice callous on the side. So far the others are behaving. I just have to keep an eye on them.

    Funny post…getting all jiggy about our feet. LOL! Adds the human touch. I like it.

    • Oh Jenny. Those 4 needles made my toe double in size. I got them with the first two ingrown toenails. So sorry to hear yours are hereditary. Double ouch. The pain to the foot is excruciating. Feet have so many nerve endings. And they carry all our weight. Glad to hear yours is behaving. Hope it continues to be a good toe nail. ๐Ÿ™‚

      LOL. The funniest part was that the doctor kept calling my mom by the wrong name the entire visit. Yup I brought my mom because if he had to cut at my toe, I wasn’t driving. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kford2007 says:

        My hubby went with me and I broke down in tears before the doctor ever came in to do anything to me. The idea of feeling those shots and the medicine going in terrified me. Thankfully, they sprayed so much of that cold stuff on my foot I didn’t feel a thing.

        That’s funny about the doctor calling your mom by the wrong name. Classic and the stuff memories are made from.

        • I felt the needles both times. And it hurt terribly. Like shooting nerve paint through my entire foot bad. When they lanced a pus pocket, I cussed my head off.

          It lightened the visit for me and distracted me from the pain. This time it was just poking around and tugging the nail up and clipping it away. Not nearly as bad as the last two visits. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. crubin says:

    Although an infection around the nail is not pleasant, it IS one of my favorite medical words: paronychia. I always tell my boys, “Trim your nails straight across; don’t dig underneath on the ends. Otherwise you might get a paronychia.” Aren’t I fun?

  6. mj monaghan says:

    Have never had anything like this, and hope that I don’t. I feel your pain, not literally, thankfully. Sounds horrible.

  7. CC MacKenzie says:

    This is a horrible problem. Last year I clipped a joint bone on my second toe on concrete. It hurt for ages but it’s only been the last couple of months that the joint swelled and now I’ve been told I’d actually broken the bone and it’s not healed properly. NIGHTMARE. Who’d have thought? So I totally sympathise.


    • OUCH! Christine, that’s horrible! You must have a good tolerance for pain too. It’s amazing how fragile our bodies are. I am sending lots of healing thoughts for your toe! ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. Ha! Laughing at your cautionary tale, not your experience. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope your tootsies feel better soon!

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    Oh, I hope this is the last round of trouble for you! It’s tough to function when the feet are in pain. It just exacerbates every other little thing in life. I had a bout of plantar fascitis some years back and was miserable every morning. Time, proper exercise, and comfortable shoes on wood floors helped. But until then. Ugh.

    Keep an eye on that toe and take care of yourself!

    • Thanks JM! This time around was the least painful. I’m now an expert in catching ingrown toenails early. No infection. Thank goodness! It’s a little sore. But much improved today. I just hope the stupid nail stays above the skin. Permanently. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Wow. Even your toe is smart! (so glad yourself is taking care out yourself)
    Really appreciate your bare toe truth….now I don’t feel so alone about being wary of pedicures.

    • I have a clever big toe! ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like a proud mama. At least my toe and I are getting better at dealing with the ingrown toenail. I will never let anyone touch my feet again. Seriously, lesson learned. And if you watch how they rinse the tub out afterwards and don’t really sanitize it, you’ll be cured of ever wanting a pedicure. Ew, just ew.

  11. Yatin says:

    Sometimes I feel at least there are some benefits of being a guy ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Yes, I definitely WILL be cutting my own!! So happy things turned out better this time, Kourtney! Fingers (and toes!!) crossed that there are only happy toe tales from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Good! Anne, if I can save one person an ingrown toenail, my blog has done its job. ๐Ÿ™‚ Me too! Tied up like a pretzel hoping the nail grows right this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Ouch painful! Hope it heals up soon!

    • Thanks. The problem is the months of growing out. That’s where I tend to get a problem. If it happens again we’ll cauterize that part of the nail. But today it feels much better!

  14. Oooh, I was just thinking of a pedicure. Guess I’ll pass. Both my boys have been through the whole thing and have had their one of both of their big toe nails cauterized, both when they were about 12 or so. Brave boys, and no problems since. Glad you’re doing better and hope you don’t have to go through it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jeannette, I think if you just get them soaked and painted you are okay. Just don’t let them clip the nails or touch the cuticles. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ouch. Brave boys for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, I’ll see how the next few months go. Hoping it grows in okay. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Ouch! Guess there was a good reason I’ve been so leery about getting a pedicure, besides the fact that I can be a little weird about having people touch my feet.
    Hope it heals soon and grows back the way its supposed to!

    • Thanks! Trust your gut–always. I was leery of going to that nail place and I should have run for the hills. ๐Ÿ™‚ I get ticklish. Me too! Otherwise it’s back to the Podiatrist.

  16. Laura says:

    I dont’ have issues with ingrown toenails but I swear my toenails look like my grandma’s! (Yes… we’ve compared them… )They are just horrible, I tend to keep them covered with many layers of nail polish… out of sight out of mind!

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