16 answers

Ingrown Toenails

I was wondering if anyone has had an experience like this. My 2 year old son has ingrown toenails. One of them recently got infected and our peditrician prescribed some antibotics and told us to see a podiatrist when the infection cleared up. Well I took my son in to the local foot doctor, and I guess I was expecting more of a consultation at first, but the doctor just went right to trimming nail. Without numbing the area. I had to hold my son down while he screamed in pain, and although I know it needed to be done, it was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life.

Has anyone else had to go through this? The doctor made it seem like it would be more uncomfortable for my son to go through the numbing process and then the trimming than to just do it quickly and be done. Does this seem right? He recovered from the experience as soon as it was done and was in good spirits the rest of the day. I was just wondering in case we have to do this again in the future.

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Thank you ladies. You've helped restored my peace of mind. I will definitely use your tips on shoes and trimming. Hopefully we will not have to do this again!

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A local block or "ring block" requires several injections of lidocaine which can be uncomfortable...however having an ingrown toenail dug out I'd rather take the shots than the pain. YEOCH

My uncle taught me this "trick" when I was a little girl. Take a pointed, metal nail file and scratch a ridge in in the midddle of the toenail. NOT side to side, but from the cuticle up and get it to the point that there is a ridge in the toenail (don't go too deep but you do need to scratch enough for a ridge to be formed) the side of the toenails will come up. Personally, I think the foot doctor was incredibly insensitive. Would not take hime back there again.

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My only quick input is that I had to have a numbing shot in my foot one time in order to get a cut stiched up and it was soooooo painful! Almost as bad as child birth! It felt like the needle was like 9 inches long! I was told that it hurts so bad because of all of the nerve endings in the feet. So the doc might have been right to not do it.

1 mom found this helpful

the other ladies are right about the shot and shoe choice.
In time your podiatrist may want to remove the sides of the nail if it keeps getting infected. It's a very common procedure (I worked for a podiatrist for 4 years). One piece of advice that can make a big difference: if you're having the nail borders removed, make sure your Dr. uses a chemical on the nail bed that will keep it from growing back. For whatever reason some Dr's don't do that and the nail just grows back (and you have to do the procedure over and over)
If you need a good podiatrist, I still see the one I worked for in Lansing:) Good luck and remember: No bathroom surgeries!!

1 mom found this helpful

S., I've had this problem myself and have seen a podiatrist. I can tell you that the shots to numb up the area are painful! First they spray the area with something very cold and then put a needle in several times in different places around the toenail. I've even had surgery on my toes to remove the roots so that I will hopefully never experience ingrown toenails again. For a child that is 2, I don't know which is worse... trimming it or numbing it first. Unfortunately, neither is pleasant, even to an adult. No one likes needles, especially children and the needles they use to numb are no exception. If he recovered after the procedure, I would say you did the right thing.

I had real bad ingrown toenails in my teen years. The first time I went to the dr, they took care of it quick like they did with you son. Yes that hurt! Well, I got another one, but this time I let it go too long before going to the dr, and the dr had a lot of work to do, so it was numbed first. The pain of sticking that needle into my toe 3-4 times was just as bad as the quick trimming before. So, yeah, that sounds about right.

S. G,

I don't know if this will help you now or not ...

When my son was a baby and toddler he would get ingrown toenails if we weren't proactive about it. As my mom always came up with inexpensive, doctor-avoiding recommendations that usually worked I followed her advice. If the problem occurred we soaked that kid's feet multiple times throughout the day in a dishpan. When he watched a video, we read together, etc., we soaked his feet. Once a day usually avoided it altogether. It softened the hard nail that was pressing into his tender skin. If we backed off for a few days it would spring up again. I preferred this to what would happen at the doc's office but you decide for yourself.

By the way, I turned to this solution as I took my baby in for a well check and asked the pediatrician about his toes. She wanted me to take this little baby to a podiatrist. That is when I called dear old mom, who raised six healthy kids on no money. Mom was right.

As to what we used, warm water and dish soap or warm water and bar soap. He liked bubbles. Try to get at least five minutes in and keep the socks off for awhile afterwards.

Eventually his skin got tougher and he outgrew the problem without a podiatrist.

Good luck.

A local block or "ring block" requires several injections of lidocaine which can be uncomfortable...however having an ingrown toenail dug out I'd rather take the shots than the pain. YEOCH

My son is prone to them, and luckily we never had an infection...

Here's some info to prevent: (which one of the doctors should have mentioned?)

* Trim your nails properly. Cut your toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
* Avoid poorly-fitting shoes. Don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box. Also avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when you run or walk briskly.

Hope this helps you!

Hi S.,
I have been a nail tech for 17 years (licensed in CA, AZ and MI) and have had clients come to me with ingrowns after receiving pedicures at "chop shops". If it is infected I recommend them to a podiatrist. After that I recommend neosporin and taking a small piece of cotton and rolling it into a little ball and wedging it under the toenail as it grows out so it won't grow back into the skin. It is best to change it a couple times a day, but I find after a week or two the problem is solved. Just remember not to cut the nails too short so they are back at the point that they can go back in the skin...good luck!

E.

Hi S.,
Oww! I have had injections in my foot before and it is very, very painful, so maybe your doctor was correct in just blazing ahead and getting it done without anesthetic. If your son is fine now, he probably won't be traumatized for life. If it happens again, maybe you could ask for some topical anesthetic to be placed on the affected area. When my son was 1 year old, he had a blocked tear duct, and the doctor took him away in another room and I could hear him screaming while they poked his tear duct- without anesthetic! That was horrible listening to that, but it was over in a minute and he was fine after that.
I hope the problem doesn't come back.
Best Wishes,
M.

i have had to deal with ingrown toe nails before also! i have had them removed two different ways also. one time they put me out, took a little section of toe nail out to prevent them from comming back, they did this when i was in the 6th grade. they did both big toes. a few months/years later they came back. then since i was older they numbed the big toe. they way they do that is 3 shots in the toe. so with his age it mightv'e been easier to just dig them out quickly cuz if they numbed them,which yeah mightv'e been less painful, but then when the doc came back to dig them out he mightv'e fought the doc more thinking that it was going to hurt again. when you cut his toe nails make sure you cut them straight instead of curved like you would do your finger nails, that might help with the ingrowing nails. good luck, i know how your son feels they hurt like heck,

My uncle taught me this "trick" when I was a little girl. Take a pointed, metal nail file and scratch a ridge in in the midddle of the toenail. NOT side to side, but from the cuticle up and get it to the point that there is a ridge in the toenail (don't go too deep but you do need to scratch enough for a ridge to be formed) the side of the toenails will come up. Personally, I think the foot doctor was incredibly insensitive. Would not take hime back there again.

I had chronic ingrown toenails when I was in college, and they hurt a lot. When I was finally able to get it taken care of by a podiatrist, he numbed my toe thoroughly. Yes, the initial needle sticks were a little painful. However, the toe was so tender and inflamed that I can't imagine how much it would have hurt had I not been numbed. I think your podiatrist made a bad call. By the way, to permanently fix my problem, the podiatrist not only trimmed the nail but he also "killed" a tiny section of the nail bed where the nail grows so my nail would be slightly narrower and less prone to becoming ingrown. I haven't had a problem since.

It's pretty common. It wouldn't make much sense to have a consultation for an ingrown toenail...it is what it is. There is a good chance that it would be more painful to have the lidocaine injection rather than just do the trimming, but the doc should listen to your request. If you or your son wants it, the doc should oblige. It's likely your son will fight this his whole life, but there are preventative measures. The number one most important thing to prevent ingrown toenails is to trim them correctly. You should cut them (or file them...I never use clippers, I use a course black file) straight accross. You should be able to see the corners on each side of the nail. If it's too sharp, take the edge off with a quick swipe, but if you can't see toenail on the side, it's an ingrown nail waiting to happen!

~L.

I haven't with toenails. However, a year or so ago I had to take our oldest daughter to the med center for a splinter in her foot. They immediately sent us to the hospital, because it was so far into her foot, and they wanted to use laughing gas to relax her. However, the med center doesn't have that. So we went to the hospital. They gave her laughing gas to relax her (not put her to sleep) and numbed her foot. She couldn't feel the doctor run a board across her foot, but yet as soon as she saw the medical instruments head to her foot she screamed and twisted and put up a fight. It took me and two nurses to hold her torso and arms and then another nurse to hold the other foot and hand instruments to the doctor. Later, when asked if she felt anything she said no, she was just scared and didn't want the doctor touching her foot.

So, with that said, it seems crude to a parent, and very horrible, and I know what you went through. However, in this case it is very possible that the doctor was right. Should he have tried numbing it first, possibly - but your son would have still screamed and kicked - basically would not have been happy. Then if the concept of a doctor playing with his foot still bothered him - he would have still screamed.

As a child I was prone to get ingrown toenails on my big toes. My dance teacher suggested that I cut a V shape in the center of my nails. It worked for me. The nail will grow back together toward the center of the nail and away from the sides. Not sure if it works for severe cases but it might be worth a try.

Fingers and toes contain many nerve endings and YES numbing them would be VERY painful! I had to have stitches on my finger once and never felt more pain in my life! Toes are bad too, and I've had many ingrown toenails and usually trim them myself as I'd rather be the one producing the pain then someone else.

Maybe they should try a sedative so he would be calmer... Sorry these things hurt and there isn't an easy way around that.

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