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DIY Podiatry

November 18, 2004

When I did my fortnight update, I forgot to include the latest chapter in the saga of my wonky toenail. In fact, I’ve been doing a piss-poor job of documenting the entire saga, probably because it’s pretty much been the same as the year before–girl gets toe bang from ski boot, girl gets bruise under toenail, toenail gets deformed and separates from nail bed, girl camouflages the damage as best she can with ridge-filling base coat, superglue, and other beauty aids, part of nail comes off, girls hides toe for a while until she can make it somewhat presentable again. At one point I thought I escaped this fate this year, but no. I reached the part of nail comes off stage the weekend of JournalCon (why I remember that but forgot to pick up my purse when I left a meeting at a customer site yesterday I do not know).

This year, there was new stage–pain. I’m used it hurting in the beginning, during the bang and bruise stage, but after that it’s just a cosmetic issue. A couple weeks ago, though, I noticed my wonky toe didn’t just look bad, it felt bad. Walking hurt, wearing shoes hurt, woe is me. “It’s just your toe; buck up,” I told myself. But ow. By that Saturday, it hurt all the time–I was unhappy. I poked at it–that hurt more. I stopped poking at it. I turned to my big file o’ helpful clippings. No help. “Don’t cut your nails too short or they’ll become ingrown,” was all the file had to offer. But now we’ve got the Internet. The Internet knows all.

I fired up the computer and soon had my pick of sites about ingrown toenail treatment. The first one I clicked on was all “see a doctor” but I had Nia in a couple hours and wanted something more immediate. I found it on a site that authorized me to lift up the nail and insert a cotton wisp or–and here I perked right up because who doesn’t like to learn new uses for common products–dental floss underneath. That’s all I needed–I had a plan. What I didn’t have was a good tool for the lifting–my fingernails weren’t doing the job, but fortunately Mr. Karen has a whole bunch of little tools. I found a plain old metal nail file worked best–it hurt quite a lot when I first dug around to find the end of the nail, but once it was loose, it felt better. We didn’t have the plain waxed floss the site recommended, so I used mint unwaxed instead. If it’s okay to put next to my gums, surely it would be okay for my toe, right? A generous dose of Neosporin and an adhesive bandage rounded out my do it yourself podiatry session, and I got through Nia class without too much discomfort.

I repeated the process twice a day for a little less than a week–breaking down and buying some plain waxed dental tape after a couple days because it seemed more professional–and now my toe is all better. Well, except for the still being only partly there issue, but that will resolve itself, probably right around the time I stuff my feet back into ski boots.

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