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What is the proper way to treat an ingrown toenail during a pedicure?

October 05, 2006

What is the proper way to treat an ingrown toenail during a pedicure?

Answer

If the area around the ingrown nail is not infected it can be gently treated by the pedicurist. The hardened skin at the area needs to be trimmed and the nail needs to be gently trimmed to straighten out the curl that has started in the nail. You can only safely trim what you can see. If the nail appears too deeply embedded, the client might need to see the podiatrist first to get the deeper portion out.

When the ingrown nail is from the big toe being pressed by the second toe (like a foot with a bad bunion), I opt for gentle, straight trimming back, leaving no nail to grow in. The hard skin is usually what hurts more, not the nail. If the client is a regular, she might want to try a nail softening agent every day. There are some that are over the counter with lactic acid, uric acid, or salacylic acid that work very well. — Johanna Youner is a New York City-based podiatrist and director of the podiatry clinic at New York University Downtown Hospital.

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