You can typically treat ingrown toenails through lifestyle and home remedies, such as soaking your foot regularly in warm water and applying an antibiotic cream. If pain continues or there's pus or redness that seems to be spreading, see your doctor. You may need to have part of the nail removed and antibiotics prescribed for infection.
Ingrown toenail treatments include:
- Lifting the nail. For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no discharge), your doctor may place cotton, dental floss or a splint under the edge of the nail to separate the nail from the overlying skin. This helps the nail eventually grow above the skin edge.
- Partially removing your nail. For a more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain and pus), your doctor may trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Before this procedure, your doctor may temporarily numb your toe by injecting it with an anesthetic.
- Removing nail and tissue. For a recurrent ingrown toenail, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of your toenail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed) to prevent that part of your nail from growing back. This procedure can be done with a chemical, a laser or other methods.
Your doctor may also recommend using topical or oral antibiotics for ingrown toenail treatment, especially if the toe is infected or at risk of becoming infected.
Mar. 17, 2011
- Ingrown toenail. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00154. Accessed Dec. 31, 2010.
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- Heidelbaugh JJ, et al. Management of the ingrown toenail. American Family Physician. 2009;79:303.