Treatment

If home remedies haven't helped your ingrown toenail, your doctor may recommend:

  • Lifting the nail. For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no pus), your doctor may carefully lift the ingrowing nail edge and place cotton, dental floss or a splint under it. This separates the nail from the overlying skin and helps the nail grow above the skin edge. At home, you'll need to soak the toe and replace the material daily.
  • Partially removing the 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 the nail and tissue. If you have the problem repeatedly on the same toe, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed). This procedure may prevent that part of your nail from growing back. Your doctor will use a chemical, a laser or other methods.

Your doctor may also recommend using topical or oral antibiotics, especially if the toe is infected or at risk of becoming infected.

Dec. 02, 2016
References
  1. Ingrown toenail. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00154. Accessed Oct. 25, 2016.
  2. Foot care. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/foot-care.html. Accessed Oct. 25, 2016.
  3. Tintinalli JE, et al. Soft tissue problems of the foot. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2016. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 26, 2016.
  4. Eekhof JAH, et al. Interventions for ingrowing toenails. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.22.1b/ovidweb.cgi &S=NHNEFPAFGDDDLOEFNCHKAGOBEOBCAA00&Complete+Reference=S.sh.18%7c1%7c1. Accessed Oct. 29, 2016.
  5. Canale ST, et al. Disorders of nails and skin. In: Campbells Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 29, 2016.
  6. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Biology of nails and nail disorders. In: Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 29, 2016.
  7. Living with diabetes: Foot complications. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/. Accessed Oct. 29, 2016.
  8. Goldstein BG, et al. Paronychia and ingrown toenails. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 29, 2016.