Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of the toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. Ingrown toenails are very common, and most commonly affect the big toe. An ingrown toenail can be extremely painful, and can result in redness, swelling, pain and infection.1
Possible Signs of an Ingrown Toenail Include:2
- Pain and/or tenderness along one or both sides of your toenail
- Redness or swelling around your toenail
- Infection of the tissue surrounding your toenail, which may include pus/discharge
If an ingrown toenail is causing you pain or is negatively impacting your mobility, you may want to consult your physician to obtain a proper diagnosis and/or recommended treatment plan. Your physician can take steps to help relieve your discomfort, treat your ingrown toenail and help you avoid future complications resulting from ingrown toenails.1
Alternatively, you may be able to take care of an ingrown toenail on your own.1
Tips for Dealing with an Ingrown Toenail at Home3
- Soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. This can help reduce the swelling around the ingrown toenail, which may relieve tenderness.
- After soaking your feet, place a small amount of cotton (from a cotton ball) or waxed dental floss underneath the edge of the ingrown toenail. This can help the nail grow back above the skin.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area and bandage the toe. Your physician or pharmacist can help you select the proper antibiotic ointment and bandage/wrap.
- Whenever possible, wear open-toed shoes or sandals to avoid the pain or discomfort that can occur when your toes are confined within closed-toe shoes.
Ways to Prevent Ingrown Toenails From Forming Include:4
- Trim your toenails straight across
- Maintain a moderate toenail length
- Wear properly fitting shoes
- Check your feet daily, especially if you suffer from diabetes
1 – Mayo Clinic (April 2, 2014). Ingrown Toenails – Definition [Diseases and Conditions web post]. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ingrown-toenails/basics/definition/con-20019655
2 – Mayo Clinic (April 3, 2014). Ingrown Toenails – Symptoms [Diseases and Conditions web post]. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ingrown-toenails/basics/symptoms/con-20019655
3 – Mayo Clinic (April 3, 2014). Ingrown Toenails – Lifestyle and home remedies [Diseases and Conditions web post]. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ingrown-toenails/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20019655
4 – Mayo Clinic (April 3, 2014). Ingrown Toenails – Prevention [Diseases and Conditions web post]. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ingrown-toenails/basics/prevention/con-20019655