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Nothing seems to hurt more than a puffy, inflamed toe from an ingrown toenail. I recently had to deal with one of my own, and it was to the point of needing to go to the doctor so he could jab a needle into my toe multiple times (which hurts more than the ingrown toenail) in order to deaden it enough to dig it out. Thankfully, I stumbled across a method for pain free ingrown toenail removal.
Now before I get to how to remove a painful ingrown toenail, let me share with you the ways I tired that DIDN’T work! This way you don’t make the same stupid mistakes I did. I say “stupid” because they all come with a fair amount of pain. Each one of these were tried on different days.
Stupid idea #1… You have probably heard the old saying, soak it in Epsom Salt water. I’m not saying that an Epsom Salt soak is not beneficial because I think it is. It helps to soften the toenail, and might even help draw out some of the infection that is causing the inflammation. HOWEVER, on it’s own you better be prepared for some pain if it’s gotten to the point of puffy and inflamed.
Stupid idea #2… Recently I had some dental work done. The dentist gave me some pain pills, and I thought… what the heck. They work pretty good, so I’ll give them a try. I soaked my foot again in Epsom Salt, and popped a pill while it was soaking. After a little while the pain in my toe went away, and I grabbed the little spoon looking tool from my wife’s manicure kit. I slid it under my toenail and lifted up. That’s when I realized this was stupid idea #2. I released the tool real quick as pain radiated from my toe. It quickly became apparent that the pain pill works great for face pain, not so much for foot pain.
Stupid idea #3… It has been over ten years since I have had a drink, but I remember the days of feeling no pain thanks to the whiskey. I hatched what I thought was a cleaver idea. We had orange juice in the fridge, and vodka on the shelf for tinctures. Time to make a few screwdrivers and kill the pain. I mixed my drinks and crashed on the couch watching TV while it worked its magic. It wasn’t long and the vodka rushed through my veins numbing the world around me. I grabbed the spoon looking tool again, and started trying to pry my toenail out so I could cut it with my ingrown toenail clippers. While I was able to make more progress, the toe wasn’t near numb enough… even though the rest of me felt pretty numb. With a hurting toe, and feeling defeated I called it a night and went to bed. Just as I started to drift off it occurred to me that I hadn’t soaked my toe.
Stupid idea #4… Wanna guess what stupid idea #4 is? Yep, you guessed it. Soak the toe and get drunk. As the water got cold, I was feeling no pain. I had a few more than the night before because I was hell bent on getting this ingrown toenail out of my toe. Well I think I had one too many because my coordination left a lot to be desired. That’s when I hatched REALLY STUPID IDEA #4! “Honey, I’m too drunk to operated the tools, can you come do this?” She took over the duties and started prying and tried to cut the toenail out. Remember I said, I was feeling no pain? WRONG! The only one of us not feeling pain was my wife, I however was about to come unglued! No one ever said drunks made good choices.
Dreading the thought of having the doctor jabbing needles in my toe, I hit the web for one last hail Mary. Buried on page 3 of a forum, I found a little nugget of information that gave me hope. That next day I went to the store and got what I hoped would cure all my problems.
That night when I got home from work I soaked my toe again, and this time it was for two hours. I wanted to make sure it was softened up as much as possible before I began the procedure. I dried off my foot and hoped for the best. Five minutes in the pain was starting to lessen. I could tell a difference when I would press my toe against the floor. I picked up the spoon looking tool, and started to pry up the toenail. I have had surgery on this toe once before for toenail removal and they didn’t get it all. Now the nail grows down at almost a ninety degree angle from the rest of the toenail. I agree… ouch!
Well crap, while the pain had lessened it was still too much. At about the fifteen minute mark, I decided I wasn’t going to the doctor. The pain of the needle was still too vivid in my mind. I set about working on my toe again.
Only this time, things had changed. Not only was I able to get the ingrown toenail up, but I was able to get the ingrown toenail clippers under it to cut it. My pain level had gone from a 10 all the way down to a 2. I would be willing to bet, had I given it more time to work, there wouldn’t have been any pain at all. If I just would have been a little more patient I could have had a pain free ingrown toenail removal. As it was, I was happy to settle for a 2 on the pain scale. I worked on both sides of the toe, and it felt wonderful to pull those nails out of the end of my toe.
I know, I know… what was the secret ingredient to pain free ingrown toenail removal?
After all the pain I had endured, it surprised me just how effective the 20% benzocaine in Maximum Strength Orajel Gel really was. The key is to get the gel variety. It is thick enough to stay where you put it. I squeezed it out on my toe, and made sure I also put some where the nail met skin. I then spread it out with a q-tip, and waited. This way I didn’t take a chance of it numbing my finger because I wanted to be able to feel what was happening with the tools.
As mentioned earlier, it took about 15 minutes for it to work and I had basically undergone a pain free ingrown toenail removal. From this point on, Maximum Strength Orajel Gel will be a permanent fixture in our house, and I’ll never have to deal with a painful ingrown toenail again.
Until next time… happy homesteading.
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