Reference Guide for an Ingrown Toenail
and How to Treat It
Ingrown toenail symptoms include:
• Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail
• Redness around your toenail
• Swelling of your toe around the nail
• Infection of the tissue around your toenail
Common ingrown toenail causes include:
• Wearing shoes that crowd your toenails
• Cutting your toenails too short or not straight across
• Injuring your toenail
• Having unusually curved toenails
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you:
• Experience severe discomfort in your toe or pus or redness that seems to be spreading
• Have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet and you experience
any foot sore or infection
10 Simple Treatments for Ingrown Toenail
- Try a foot soak. Allow your sore toe to soak in a warm salt water bath for 15 minutes a couple of times every day. This soak can help relieve pain and swelling in an ingrown toenail. Dry your foot completely after each soak.
- Keep your foot dry except when soaking.
- Take an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Gently pull the skin away from the nail using a small nail file or other blunt device that won’t cut or hurt the toe.
- Stuff tiny pieces of clean, moist cotton between the ingrown toenail and the skin to help separate them and provide a little cushioning to the skin. You can soak the cotton in a bit of water or an antiseptic cleanser first.
- Rub your toe with antibiotic ointment to help reduce your chance of developing an infection
- Cover the sore toe with a Band-Aid or other bandage to offer a little extra padding and protection.
- Choose shoes that are easy on your toes. Shoes made of soft fabrics with a wide toe are a good choice — try wearing sandals if you can. Avoid shoes that pinch the toes or place pressure on the ingrown toenail.
- Inspect your toe carefully for signs of infection. Check every day for signs and symptoms like redness, increased pain, swelling, and drainage of pus.
- See a podiatrist if you see signs of infection, or if your ingrown toenail keeps coming back.