In holistic nutrition we talk a lot about finding the root cause. Sometimes this can be easy, sometimes difficult, other times all you need is intuition. The case I’m going to talk about, took intuition.
Most of the time we don’t see a direct cause and effect, it’s a little more insidious. Let me give you an example of one where this can be seen. A few years ago, my older son started getting an ingrown toe nail on his big toe. He’s not a complainer, so it got pretty bad before he told me his foot hurt him. I took him to the podiatrist and she removed the nail and recommended antibiotics. Throughout that summer and into the next year, we had multiple trips to the foot doctor because it kept happening and started happening in the other foot too! Every time we went through the same thing, we went in, she removed the nail and recommended a permanent surgery which he eventually did and even though it took longer, the in grown nail came back.
At each appointment, I asked her why she thought this kept happening. She said some people are more susceptible to it than others and it’s probably genetic and possibly due to growth spurts. Most people accept this type of answer from a doctor because we collectively feel that they have gone through a lot of schooling so they must have the answer. I would accept this answer if he was a toddler, but he was 16! He has gone 16 years without having ingrown toenails. Something else was going on.
So, I started my research, why could this be happening? One of the reasons that came up in my research was shoes that are too tight. I had thought of this the first time we went and even asked but was told it’s probably genetic so I let it go. I had also just bought new shoes for him and thought they fit him correctly. My son does have a wide foot and since he’s older and can tell me how the shoes fit, I just check where the toe is to make sure they are long enough. He should know if the shoe is too tight, right?
After more research and another doctor in the same practice recommending different sneakers. I bought him new shoes again but this time they weren’t skater shoes, they were sneakers marked wide and just to be safe, I bought bigger socks too! I figured it couldn’t hurt! Since this time, he has only had one ingrown, he is now 20.
My gut was telling me that it he wasn’t just susceptible to ingrown toenails and it turned out to be an easy fix. There are other times it takes more detective work. Listen to your gut, ask questions and do some research If you look deep enough the answer is usually inside of you.