Reverse engineering toenail brace strips
August 26, 2022 8:49 AM   Subscribe

My mother has been using these toenail braces to correct ingrown toenails. The replacement strips are pricey, and if knew what kind of plastic they are using, I could buy a sheet and cut it myself. The plastic is very thin and stiff but bendable. The strips are available in different tensile strengths, from 0.007 to 0.180, but I don't know what the units are. Any guesses as to what these are made out of?
posted by Gamera4President to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"B/S Brace is made of a special synthetic fiberglass material and works as a spring while both ends pulling the nail plate from the corresponding nail groove according to a classic physical principle: less flexure less strength while more flexure more strength."

That is for B/S Brace, which is a different but similar system.

FWIW, considering that the strips cost only $2 each, they should last 1-3 months, they can be re-used, and getting the tension right seems to be an important part of the formula, I would be astonished if you can really make replacement strips for less than the cost of simply purchasing them - especially if you value your own time at more than $5/hour.

$24 (12 strips) should easily cover a person for a year, even counting application to two toenails.

Having said that, as a guess the units for the 0.007 to 0.180 measurements are almost certainly millimeters. And this supplier has 12inchx12inch squares (and larger)of fiberglass sheet in .005 inch thickness, which equals 0.127 mm - so in the range of the standard-low tension Curve Correct braces.

In theory even with that single thickness you could vary the stiffness a bit by cutting them a bit wider or narrower.

However - the material stiffness of the AP Composites material may or may not match that of the Curve Correct material - you could only determine that by experiment & trial/error.

Good luck!
posted by flug at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Just let her use her usual product. Why make things more complicated and possibly sub-optimal for her while you experiment to save some dollars? Saving money isn’t necessarily the ideal thing here imho.
posted by asimplemouse at 6:02 PM on August 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

I would caution you against trying to make these yourself. You don't really know what you're doing and if you did something wrong you could cause problems.

If the braces are prohibitively expensive, I can suggest another possibility. I used to get nasty ingrown nails and they've pretty much stopped being a problem since I started putting little wads of cotton under my toenails before I go to sleep. Whenever my toe cuticles start to feel ouchy I take a tiny puff from a cotton ball and slip it under my nail, just enough to lift the nail from the nail bed. I've done this dozens of times, and (knock wood) it always works. On my old podiatrist's advice I also keep my toenails kind of long and trim them straight across instead of rounding them off, but your mother is presumably doing that already.

I had nail issues for YEARS and I had to have foot surgeries, it was a huge pain, but using tiny cotton wads has really made a difference for me. Tell your mother to try the cotton for a night and see how it goes.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:22 PM on August 26, 2022

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