Since 2002, the third Thursday of April has been celebrated as National High Five Day. It’s a chance to give everyone you meet a High Five—for no reason whatsoever! As podiatrists, we have to tell you we have special fondness for “Low Fives”—not the kind you give at waist level with your hands, but rather, those little digits at the end of your feet. That’s why we want to do all we can to help you relieve ingrown toenail pain. Here are five easy ways:

  • Soak your toes in warm water. It helps soothe them and can reduce swelling. Adding some Epsom salts can even help fight off infection. You can massage the tissue as well to help disperse the extra fluid that accumulates under the skin. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, and do this for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Gently lift the nail and support it. After your soak, you can disinfect a little dental floss or bit of cotton in antiseptic and nudge it under the nail to hold it up and encourage it to grow straighter. Your nail and skin should be softer and more pliable when they are damp. Don’t use sharp instruments!
  • Use an antibiotic cream. Dabbing a little on the red and swollen skin and near the nail can help fight off any bacteria that might enter a tiny opening. Preventing infection is important if you want to avoid a more serious problem.
  • Try these pain relief methods: You can use ice wrapped in a cloth to soothe away the pain. If it is severe, an over the counter analgesic like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may take the edge off the first day or two.
  • Wear different shoes. Open toe shoes or sandals may remove pressure from the toe until it feels better. Once it has healed, take note when wearing your regular shoes whether they might be causing the issue. Replace them if they are rubbing or irritating the skin or pressing it over your nail.

We’ll help you take care of your “lower fives” no matter what has gone wrong with them. Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Mission Viejo, CA is just a phone call away at (949) 364-9255 (WALK), or you can request an appointment right now on our website. We’ll even share a High Five with you once we’ve been able to eliminate your ingrown nail pain!