Curly toenails, oh my!
August 16, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

HomeRemedyFilter: Please help me with my incurvated toenails!

While the nails are not ingrown, one is growing downward enough to bother me. (Incurvated toenails, for the un-initiated, are nails that naturally curl under at the sides instead of growing flat across.)

I'm looking for simple home remedies that may help me to train my nails to grow properly or that will at least help make my feet more comfortable.

(Note: A trip to the podiatrist is not an option at this point.)
posted by brina to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had an ingrown toenail once - to prevent it happening again a Doctor told be to gently run the blade of scissors down the center of the toenail creating a wide-sih groove running from base to to the tip. This forces the toenail to flatten out.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:35 AM on August 16, 2007

Cut an inverted triangle in the centre of your toenails - just a little one. The nail will grow to fill in the gap - you'd think it would just grow out, but my doctor recommended this when I kept getting ingrown nails and hot damn, it totally works.
posted by meerkatty at 9:42 AM on August 16, 2007

Wedge a bit of cotton (from a cotton ball) under the nail at one or both edges. It gently lifts the nail over the surrounding skin, or more accurately, pushes the skin away from the nail. Change this wadding every day, and after 7-10 days the nail will have grown out past the skin around it. Then just trim as normal, but don't cut them closer than the tip of your toe. No more ingrown toenails!
posted by autojack at 9:43 AM on August 16, 2007

Orthopedic surgeon said to wedge a bit of cotton under the nail. He also had me wear sandals for a week.
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:52 AM on August 16, 2007

I wish the couple podiatrists I had knew about that inverted triangle trick. My treatment involved them cutting on me until I got tired of going to the doctor's office all the time and just started cutting on myself until it went away.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:06 AM on August 16, 2007

It seems like people are talking about ingrown toenails, which isn't want the OP is suggesting. "Incurvated nails are nails that naturally curve from side to side rather than lying flat on the nail bed. This type of nail curves deep into the skin fold and may often result in an ingrown toenail. Although usually inherited, incurvated nails can also be the result of injury or trauma to the toe."
-- and --
"An incurvated nail is one in which the matrix (root) is distorted at the nail plate so that the sides curl downwardly into the toe itself. If the nail plate is thin and brittle it may even cut through the tissue." both indicate that the problem is larger than just adjusting your nail into a more flat shape.
posted by parilous at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2007

Parilous is correct. I very much appreciate the remedies suggested above, and I'm definitely going to try them as there's a possiblity they may help to uncurve the nails a bit.

But if anyone knows if there is any way to get the nails to grow more normally, I'd appreciate those too!
posted by brina at 12:13 PM on August 16, 2007

I don't have the toenail thing, but some of my fingernails used to curve in a weird way. I found out it's called spooning, because if you grow them out long enough, the nails look spoon-shaped. It's supposed to be a symptom of iron-deficiency or anemia.

I've been eating sushi twice a week or more for a while now, and the spooning seems to have gone away. Other kinds of fish might work too. Poultry and red meat are also iron-rich.
posted by frosty_hut at 1:02 PM on August 16, 2007

There's no citation, so take it with a grain of salt, but wikipedia, claims the "cutting a v shape" is a myth.

I've had this problem on and off for a while now. In the past I've resorted to crude self-operation, but a lot of times I think that just makes it worse. Vigorous under-nail cleaning of the curled area seems to help as...stuff can build up in there and obviously contributes to irritation.
posted by anazgnos at 4:11 PM on August 16, 2007

I had ingrown toenails for years, including two surgeries (and never learned what incurvation was or that it's abnormal! I thought I just had fat toes). I'd always heard you should cut your toenails straight across, but that just made it worse for me - right angle = pointy bit that eventually pokes into my skin. What works for me is cutting straight across, *then* cutting the corners off at a 45-degree angle. (Make sense?)
posted by clavicle at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2007

I know that this is an older thread but I have the same exact problem. I saw a foot doctor last week and he told me to do exactly what CLAVICLE says above. Cut the toe nail strait across then gently cut the corners on a curve. I had this done and my toes feel so much better!
posted by remthewanderer at 5:33 PM on September 3, 2007

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