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View Full Version : Ingrown toenail, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol?


Penny_Plinker
01-05-2008, 01:34 PM
An ingrown toenail has come back for the third time. The podiatrist did two prior lasor surgeries that were painful, and obviously ineffective. I'm trying to treat it myself this time by soaking it and then putting tissue paper under the nail edge to keep it from growing back into the flesh. The doctor had said not to ever use hydrogen peroxide because it kills healthy skin cells. Is this true or is it just something he says to keep patients from helping themselves?? My mom says it's BS and urges me to use peroxide but so far i haven't. If the peroxide isn't okay to use, then is it okay to use alcohol? I already used 94% alcohol on it once, and the alcohol didn't burn or anything (surprise) but don't know if the alcohol is a healthy alternative to keep using it or not.

Penny

edward_4576
01-05-2008, 04:02 PM
DW says I have toenails made of iron. when I cut them they become deadly projectiles. To keep from getting ingrown toe nails I use a pumice stone on my toes to keep the skin from building up along the edges. I think everyone has seen those nail kits you get from the store. On some Christmas you ether gave one away or got one as a gift. Inside the kit is a little item sort of like a knife but with no edge and the tip has a curved point. I use that to make sure that when I trim my nails they don't have a sharp point to them. I noticed that if my nail has a sharp edge after cutting I have a greater chance of developing an ingrown toe nail.

eeyore
01-05-2008, 04:58 PM
I have always used nail cutters and cut them as soon as they give me the first bit of pain. ever used either and they are healed after a day or so. The key at least (for me) is to catch them before they get bad.

WRTN
01-05-2008, 05:19 PM
I learned to deal with this problem while in the field on active duty. I got an infected ingrown toe nail that got real bad. The flight surgeon couldn't do much for me other than have a corpman pull the toe nail off which was not an option because I had to test fly aircraft for the mission. I politiely said no thanks!

I soaked the toe in hydrogen peroxide about 3 times a day and after each soaking I took my Leatherman pliers and got up undernieth the toe nail and gradually bent the upward at several places along the radius of the nail. This kept the toe nail from digging in deeper and allowed it to grow over the skin. After the nail was dry I would file the top center/middle of the nail to make the nail as thin as I dare. This minimized any curling and digging in of the nail. After the nail was growth out over the toe. DO NOT cut it back short again. It will become ingrown again.

Mind you this was not an unpainful process but it was WAY less painful than letting that corpman rip the nail off. It like they spoiled for the opportunity.

By the way, hydrogen peroxide is an near 100% way of avoiding cavities betweent dentist visits. You DON'T want to know how and why I started using it; suffice it to say that after nearly a year in the desert during Desert Storm with everyone chewing tobbacco and what not, there were some serious dental problems. After having 4 cavities filled with no novacain or any pain killers because of a flight mission and medevac duty, I learned to take real good care of my teeth too. I use it at least once a week to this day. That was 15 years ago and have not had a cavity since. Just take a big slug of it before you hop into the shower straight out of the bottle and swish it around and inbetween your teeth and enjoy imitating a rabid animal foaming at the mouth. About 10 - 15 minutes should do it.

Penny_Plinker
01-05-2008, 06:55 PM
Here is a picture of my toe:




http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-7/1047863/Toe.jpg



Sorry for the quality but it was hard to hold the camera and the dental pick in place at the same time.

The dental pick (sterilized, btw) is under the side growing piece of nail. *You can see how far back it is. *So i can't really prevent this by the way i trim it unless it grows forward. *The Dr cut it straight back into the quick, (3 months ago) and burnt that whole left side but there must have been some living cells left. *In the picture i pull the nail snag up as far as possible, then put tissue under it. * Tortuous, but not as bad as the foot doc.

Penny

edward_4576
01-05-2008, 07:28 PM
Ouch.....

My mom had bad toe fungus which caused her to have an ingrown nail as well. *No matter what she did she couldn't get it cleared up. *One day she was in the kitchen and dropped a skillet on her toe. *You guessed it she lost the nail. *Strangely enough after the nail fell off the sun light and such killed the fungus which allowed the nail to grow back. *When it did it was straight and clean with no ingrowth. *

jen_in_southtexas
01-06-2008, 02:19 AM
Penny,

I sympathize with you :(. I know what an ingrown toenail feels like and i do know how painful they can become. What really helped me was soaking it in Epsom Salt. I used alot of it like 1-2 cups in water that was very warm but not hot. I would let it soak for 20-30 minutes a coupla times a day. It helps the pain too. Its also great on blisters and tired feet. Rather than putting tissue under it, i would try putting Neosporin instead the one that has the pain reliever in it to keep it from getting stuck to the skin.

I hope you get it to feeling better.

I kringe(SP?) just thinking about an ingrown toenail.

-j

DonnaKay
01-06-2008, 05:30 AM
Penny,

Sorry about your toe, it looks really painful. I am a nurse and I know using peroxide has fallen out of favor for the reason that the podiatrist gave you. However, people haven used peroxide for a long time with good results. I personally still keep it at home and don't hesitate to use it to clean superficial cuts and scraps. I wouldn't pour it into a large wound or use it on a person that is unhealthy and slow to heal. But if you are healthy and heal pretty well and want to give it a try I really don't think it's going to hurt anything.

Doctors and scientists are always telling us stuff doesn't work that we all know from personally experience does work....sometimes you have to use your own judgment.

Good Luck,
Donna

Ann61
01-06-2008, 03:38 PM
Ouch! This is out of my realm of expertise, but have you considered using Tea Tree oil? It's a natural anti-septic and anti-fungal and I use it for many first aid situations. You can find it at any co-op or healthy foods type store...heck, by now, maybe even Walgreens carries it. I hope you feel better soon!

Penny_Plinker
01-06-2008, 04:57 PM
Thanks for the stories, like they say "misery loves company" so i'm glad there's plenty of sore toes out there.

I haven't tried the tea tree oil but i've heard of it. I'll check the pharmacy at Walmart. I don't have the nerve to do any self surgery or the skillet cure, LOL. Tried the peroxide this a.m. and it actually seems better. Plus found an old pair of sneakers and cut the toe out of one, they're a lot more comfortable to wear, though they look pretty shabby. I can just imagine going to a yard sale and asking if they'd take a quarter for something. And they glance down at my toeless shoes and say "that's okay honey, you just take it." Well, so it wouldn't be that bad.

Penny

Ann61
01-06-2008, 06:47 PM
Plus found an old pair of sneakers and cut the toe out of one, they're a lot more comfortable to wear, though they look pretty shabby. *I can just imagine going to a yard sale and asking if they'd take a quarter for something. *And they glance down at my toeless shoes and say "that's okay honey, you just take it." *Well, so it wouldn't be that bad.

Penny

:D Wow...you could score some real bargains in that get-up!

DM
01-09-2008, 02:52 AM
I can tell you how to fix it once in for all...but you probably wouldn't do it... Both of mine are done this way.... And, i've done this to others too...

When the pain gets so bad you will try "anything", that's the time to do this... lol

Take a small "thin" knife blade, like a thin bladed jack knife, and pour alchol on it to sterilize it... Push it under the edge of the toe nail that's a problem, prying it up... You are seperateing it from the meat.

Now, take a round toothpick and push it in a small ball of cotton, and turn the T. pick... It will pick up the cotton and build up on the T. pick...

Dip the cotton/T. pick in iodine (no your not suposeto use it these days) and shove it under the nail... Pull the T. pick out unwinding the cotton leaving it under the nail, and push the cotton all the way under with the T. pick... Do this several times untill you have cotton built up under there, and it has to go "all the way back" under the nail... Don't forget the iodine.. lol

Then once a day for a few days, pour a little iodine on the edge of the nail into the cotton, and VERY soon the pain will go away, the toe will heal, and you will NEVER have the problem again. There will be heavy dead skin under the nail, and the nail won't ever grow back into it.

YES it hurts like hell, and YES it REALLY does work...

DM

nancy1340
01-09-2008, 05:20 AM
:o Holy Moly !

Penny_Plinker
01-09-2008, 11:53 PM
Dm, i gave your procedure a try. I was amazed how that cotton wraps arouud the toothpick like cotton candy. ( got the cotton from an asprin bottle) But i forgot and put the cotton in dry and then poured iodine over it. and i didn't "shove it in" lol, but i managed to get some in gently and cautiously. After it was in there it actually felt normal, less painful. I Hope i got enough in there, it seems pretty full and i hope it works out for me like you said that there will never be pain again and the toe will heal. that'll be real nice...i'm hoping.

Penny

DM
01-10-2008, 11:49 PM
Well, good for you!! Your a gutsy lady, and if you get the iodine in there right, it WILL heal and end the problem!

One time i was dall sheep hunting in the Brooks Range in Alaska... A friend of mine had a bad toe and it was killing him! He asked if i knew how to fix it, and i told him i did and how i'd do it... He said i was crazy and forget it!!!

A couple days later he was down for the count, and asked me to do it. (a doctor had already worked on it 2 times) There was a third guy in camp, and he told us, "no matter what i say, don't stop"! hahahaaa

Well, when i pushed the knife blade in he was cussing me (and the third guy that was holding him down) to no end, but i got-r-done, and the next day he was walking... The day after that he was climping mountains chaseing sheep!! He never had another problem with it again...

He even stayed my friend ha ha ha

DM

DM
01-15-2008, 12:01 AM
OOOhh Penny....

How's that toe???????????????

DM

annabella1
01-15-2008, 01:28 AM
I had a nurse friend who would treat ingrown toenails and hangnails with a 50/50 solution of betadyne and hydrogen peroxide. It would be a soak and rinse repeat until the pain went away then wrap in a bandage. By the way Hydrogen Peroxide will only damage the skin cells if you leave it on. After you use it to clean a wound rinse it thoroughly. The Peroxide really cleans out any infection.

MountainMan
01-18-2008, 02:52 AM
I'd go to Walmart and get some EQUATE Triple Antibiotic Ointment... use it 3 times a day without fail, and your toe will be greatly improved in no time at all. I haven't found a better remedy for skin irritations/infections ever.

Warm, salty water is excellant also, if you soak your toe in it faithfully.

Best wishes...

Penny_Plinker
01-20-2008, 10:27 PM
The foot doctor had me using the triple antibiotoc ointment and it seemed to take forever to heal, and then it finally did but then it came back. I use the triple antibiotic ointment occasionally for a serious deodorant, like when the water is off or something.

The toe seems healed up from he cotton/iodine regimine. I interpreted iodine as the deep purple stuff with a different name.

Thanks for all the input on this all of which has been very informative and helped a lot.

Penny

Pitdog
01-27-2008, 03:37 PM
As a young teenager genetically doomed to suffer the hell of ingrowns, I can tell you all about my experiences, having to take antibiotics to reduce the infections prior to surgery etc. Which never worked. As long as the toenail is in their growing sideways into your toe, the infection will remain. Feet are gardens for bacteria, no matter what.
You can buy the stainless steel surgical snippers that they use to cut the toenail out. You just have to have the 'fortitude' to use them. Mine had to be chemically killed to prevent the from gorwing sideways, which finally worked. They barely grow forward and I rarely have to clip the tips. Occasionally I will have one of my smaller toenails grown in, but it is a pretty quick simple job to remove it with no trouble.
If you Podiatrist isn't working out, get a new podiatrist.

lostinthewoods
02-13-2008, 03:47 AM
Man I can feel your pain. I have had 2 in my life that needed to be cut out by a doctor. the first time I went to my regular MD and he cut it out. NEVER AGAIN! It grew right back so my MD refered me to a foot doc. He cut it out and used a chemical of somekind to burn INSIDE of the quick and it killed the edge of the nail where the ingrown always came from. It's been 5 years for one and I had another done about 1 year ago and they are both great. I told him I should have had him do both sides of each toe to save me the hassle of dealing with them about every 2 months.

If you ever have to "dig" one out some people have good luck with OraGel (max strength ) to deaden the pain to allow you to work. I've found that cuticle scissors work great for diggin them out and they're only about $2 at walmart.

Best of luck!
lost

OzarksJohn
03-01-2008, 04:42 PM
Penny Plinker;

Nice fox, one ugly toe! If this happens again I would use the peroxide as well as the iodine solution to help pound down the infection. the trimminng, lifting and cotton packing also is pretty common self treatments. IF getting the disinfectant under or down in the wound is difficult you might try irrigation with a water pik type device. It WILL smart some! BTW listerine mouthwashes are pretty good general purpose disinfectants as well. It IS true that straight peroxide can cause issues with skin regeneration, so if this appears to be an issue in any particular case, try diluting it a bit with water but not so much that it fails to foam on contact. OzarksJohn

Penny_Plinker
12-12-2008, 05:32 PM
Bump to top

fnfredux
12-12-2008, 10:38 PM
WHOA, you've got quite an infection going there.
If I get an infection I treat it QUICK with either PenG/PenC, pull some up in a syringe and remove the needle just apply in on the wound. Don't want to know why I shouldn't do this in case someone feels a need to tell me, it works usually in three days or less.
Second option, depending on location and the problem, about a teaspoon of Chlorine bleach in 1/2cup of water, then apply. This will also cure many things.
Now that toenail should really be seen by a doc. Somebody that doesn't use lasers. Seems to me like creating more scar tissue might just make the problem worse.
Here's the BEST hint I ever got for PREVENTING those nasty things. When you get straightened out, from now on when you trim your toenails cut a small V in the middle of the toenail (on the end of course) Before you trim, be sure to leave enough nail to retain the V, also never trim the corner down, just syraight across. The V gives a little room fro the nail so it doesn't grow into the side of your toe.
Now, I've had many ingrown toenails before I learned those trimming tricks, but honey that one of yours tops them all. You really need to see a doc.

Penny_Plinker
12-14-2008, 12:20 AM
Fnfredux, the toe got better and is all healed now. DM had told me how to put a toothpick in cotton and spin it to get the cotton to stick and then dip it in iodine and stuff it under the nail till it was built up. that really worked. Bad as the toe looked, it healed up fast and the nail looks normal now.

But if you don't mind, what is PenG/PenC?

Penny

fnfredux
12-14-2008, 12:45 AM
Fnfredux, the toe got better and is all healed now. * DM had told me how to put a toothpick in cotton and spin it to get the cotton to stick and then dip it in iodine and stuff it under the nail till it was built up. *that really worked. *Bad as the toe looked, it healed up fast and the nail looks normal now. *

But if you don't mind, what is PenG/PenC?

Penny

It's veterinary pennicillin. Best proof of how good it works applied to nasty infections, I spilled boiling water on my foot, thought it was okay, just sore,I was wrong, something very nasty was going on under the top layer of what looked like a scab . About 6-7 days later I happened to nudge the "scab" (actually blackish dead skin I guess) while in the tub...very nasty. Hurt way more than it should have. I realized I had quite an infection going on. I applied the PenC (that's what I had) several times a day and within a week it was pretty well along healing. I've used it on ingrown toenails and hangnails too. Anything that shows ANY sign of infection.
Some folks might think its a trifle strong, and it does have a smidge of formaldehyde, but it sure beats a raging systemic infection.
I don't know where you live, but out here we do a lot of our own vet work and many things are available. I would NEVER inject this in a human. PERIOD. but topically I do use it.

Penny_Plinker
12-14-2008, 11:48 AM
Thank you, that's really some useful, interesting information! They'd probably carry that at the feed store, there's a refrigerator of animal medicine in there. Would be good to keep something like that on hand.

Penny

jebrown
12-18-2008, 02:26 PM
If using toe-nail clippers get one that is straight and not curved like the ones used on finger nails. cut your toe-nail straight across, do not cut it curved. I had problems with in grown toe-nailswhen I was a kid and a nurse who was reitired and had worked for a Podiatist told me this. I have related to this to a number of people over the years. My stepson had an ingrown toenail and had it cut awayn by a doctor three times to no avail. The doctor a Podiatisttold him that how a toe-nail is cut made no difference. He finally cut it straight across in desperation and has had no trouble with it since.
Hydorogyn peroxide and alcohol will damage compromises skin at the edge of a wound. Yes some people still use both but then again look how many people still use tobacco.

fnfredux
12-18-2008, 02:39 PM
If using toe-nail clippers get one that is straight and not curved like the ones used on finger nails. *cut your toe-nail straight across, do not cut it curved. *I had problems with in grown toe-nailswhen I was a kid and a nurse who was reitired and had worked for a Podiatist told me this. *I have related to this to a number of people over the years. *My stepson had an ingrown toenail and had it cut awayn by a doctor three times to no avail. *The doctor a Podiatisttold him that how a toe-nail is cut made no difference. *He finally cut it straight across in desperation and has had no trouble with it since.
Hydorogyn peroxide and alcohol will damage compromises skin at the edge of a wound. Yes some people still use both but then again look how many people still use tobacco.

ABSOLUTELY, I forgot the straight across in my post. That is of major importance.