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What To Do When You Have An Ingrown Nail

Can Ingrown Toenails Be Prevented

How Do You Know If You Have An Ingrown Toenail?

To help prevent an ingrown toenail:

  • wear shoes that fit properly
  • keep your feet clean and dry
  • trim your nails properly briefly soak your foot in warm water before trimming, and make sure you cut straight across, without tapering or rounding the corners or cutting them too short

People with diabetes or persistent foot problems should see a podiatrist regularly for routine foot checks and nail care.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur in both men and women. According to the National Health Services , ingrown toenails may be more common in people with sweaty feet, such as teenagers. Older people may also be at higher risk because toenails thicken with age.

Many things can cause an ingrown toenail, including:

  • cutting toenails incorrectly
  • irregular, curved toenails
  • footwear that places a lot of pressure on the big toes, such as socks and stockings that are too tight or shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet
  • toenail injury, including stubbing your toe, dropping something heavy on your foot, or kicking a ball repeatedly
  • poor posture
  • improper foot hygiene, such as not keeping your feet clean or dry
  • genetic predisposition

Using your feet extensively during athletic activities can make you especially prone to getting ingrown toenails. Activities in which you repeatedly kick an object or put pressure on your feet for long periods of time can cause toenail damage and increase your risk of ingrown toenails. These activities include:

  • ballet
  • overgrowth of skin around the toe

Treat your ingrown toenail as soon as possible to avoid worsening symptoms.

When To See Your Doctor

Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or a podiatrist if you have diabetes and if the redness, swelling, and other symptoms don’t go away with home treatment. See your doctor right away if:

  • You have a fever or chills
  • You notice red streaks on the skin leading away from the infected area
  • Your joints or muscles hurt

Your doctor will examine your toe. You might need tests to find out what type of bacteria or fungus caused the infection.

Get regular checkups from your podiatrist if you have diabetes, so you can find infections and other problems early. See the doctor more often if you have any known foot problems, like an ingrown toenail.

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What Are Ingrown Toenail Symptoms And Signs

Ingrown toenail symptoms and signs include redness, pain, and swelling. Sometimes there may be a clear yellowish drainage, or if it becomes infected, pus drainage. Young children may show signs of limping in order to avoid putting pressure at the ingrown toenail site. Occasionally, ingrown toenails resolve without treatment. A podiatrist should treat painful, persistent, and recurring ingrown toenails. If the ingrown toenail has been present for a long time, a very vascular tissue called granulation tissue may form that easily bleeds.

What Does The Recovery From Toenail Surgery Entail

Dr. Pelto

The operated foot should be elevated for the remainder of the day. Typically, the dressings are removed the day following the procedure. Cleansing of the wound or soaks in Epsom salts and/or antimicrobial soap followed by application of an antibacterial cream and small bandage twice a day for one to two weeks can help to prevent infection. Open toe or loose-fitting, wide toe box shoes are recommended to avoid pressure to the toe while healing. Your doctor may want to see you return in a few weeks to ensure appropriate healing of the procedure site.

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Ingrown Toenail Medical Treatment

Your doctor will look at your toe to see if itâs ingrown. They may:

  • Lift the nail. The doctor might lift the ingrown nail and put a splint under it to relieve some pressure. When you get home, youâll remove the splint, soak the nail, and put the splint back.
  • Cut away part of the nail. If the doctor has to do this, theyâll numb your toe with a shot first.
  • Remove the whole nail and some tissue. If your ingrown nail keeps coming back, this might be an option. The doctor will numb your toe first with a shot. They might remove the section thatâs ingrown or your whole toenail. They may have to destroy the nail bed underneath the area so the nail doesnât regrow or grows back thinner.

Your doctor might also suggest:

  • Antibiotics. You might need to take antibiotics in the form of a pill or as an ointment to put on your toe.
  • More comfortable shoes. If your shoes put too much pressure on your toes, you could get an ingrown toenail. Make sure you wear wide shoes that fit you and give your toes lots of space to move around.
  • A toe brace. This is a plastic or metal brace that goes over your toenail to relieve pain and pressure.

Sometimes an ingrown nail is caused by a fungus. A doctor can find out if you have a fungus and then offer treatment options.

Medical Treatment Of Ingrown Toenails

Once your ingrown toenail has progressed past the first stage, you may need to seek medical help. There are various surgical treatments of ingrown toenails your podiatrist may recommend. All of these are standard, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons .

Wedge Resection: This involves the partial removal of the nail or a portion of it, after numbing your toe with a local anesthetic and draining any ingrown toenail infection. Your doctor can perform this procedure in the office and the recovery time is anywhere between two weeks to two months, depending on the size of the nail portion removed.

Matrixectomy: The matrixectomy procedure is also referred to as permanent or full nail avulsion. Unlike typical avulsions, which arent often practiced anymore , a matrixectomy happens when the physician removes the entire nail from your nail bed and then covers the nail matrix with a chemical that stops it from ever growing back.

Vandenbos Procedure: The Vandenbos procedure has been around since the late 1950s and involves removal of the skin directly underneath and on either side of the ingrown toenail. Recovery is longer with this procedure, but this is also the only procedure in which a doctor does not need to prescribe antibiotics for prevention of infections. It also seems to be the procedure most likely to prevent recurrences of ingrown nails.

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What To Do If I May Have An Ingrown Toenail

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Ingrown Fingernail Treatments To Try At Home

Do I Have an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown fingernails are a pain, learn several ingrown fingernail treatment you can try at home without going to the doctor.

Ingrown nails arenât just a toenail thing, sometimes they can occur on your fingernails as well.

While ingrown fingernails are less common than an ingrown toenail, they can be just as annoying and painful.

Ingrown fingernails can occur if:

  • There is an injury to the nail
  • Nail growth is too slow
  • Nail growth is too fast
  • Trimming nail incorrectly
  • Biting your nails
  • There is a fungal infection

Luckily, most ingrown fingernails can be safely and effectively treated at home without a doctorâs visit and be gone after 5 or so days.

However, if you are diabetic, the ingrown fingernail doesnât go away after about a week, or there is significant pain, redness, swelling, pus, or fever, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Below we’ll discuss 7 ingrown fingernail treatments you can try at home.

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Ingrown Toenail Home Treatment: Do Not


  • Fall for the home treatment that alleges an ingrown toenail can be cured by cutting a V-shaped wedge into the top of the nail. Proponents claim this encourages nail growth toward the center of the nail, instead of at the sides where the problem is located. This simply isn’t true. All nail growth occurs from the base of the nail toward the top of the toe.
  • Attempt surgery at home. The skin around your ingrown toe is irritated, and possibly infected. Attempting to cut into the area at home puts you at risk of further complications, and may force you to visit the ER for additional medical treatment.
  • Cut your nails down to the nailbed. If your nails are cut too short, this can make it easier for your toenail to grow into the surrounding skin.

How Are Ingrown Toenails Diagnosed

Your doctor will most likely be able to diagnose your toe with a physical exam. If your toe seems infected, you might need an X-ray to show how deep the nail has grown into the skin. An X-ray can also reveal if your ingrown nail was caused by injury.

If you need help finding a primary care doctor or gastroenterologist, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Ingrown toenails that arent infected can normally be treated at home. However, if your toenail has pierced the skin, or there is any sign of infection, seek medical treatment. Signs of infection include:

  • warmth

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Do You Have A Question About Overgrown Toeskin Ingrown Toenails Or Toe Surgery

Please review the questions below before contacting us. If your question regarding overgrown toeskin or ingrown toenails is not answered here please contact us and we will do our best to reply to your question in a timely manner.

What is Overgrown Toeskin vs an Ingrown Toenail?

Overgrown toeskin is a problem where there is too much skin aournd the nail – the nail is not the problem. That’s why we call it “Overgrown Toeskin”. The skin piles up around the toenail and the nail is normal.

A study done on the nails shows that there is no difference in the nails of patients with Overgrown Toeskin compared to a group of patients who do not have the problem.

Ingrown toenails are nails that are visibily curled in on the sides. The nail is noticeably abnormal.

What causes Overgrown Toeskin?

Overgrown Toeskin is caused by weight-bearing in patients that have too much soft tissue along the sides of the nail. Weight bearing causes this excessive amount of skin to bulge up along the sides of the nail. The pressure on the skin around the nail causes the toenail to dig into the excess skin and the tissue becomes damaged. This causes swelling, redness and infection.

Is there any way to prevent Overgrown Toeskin?

Not cutting the nail too short may help to alleviate some pain associated with the Overgrown Toeskin, but this will not cure the problem.

What are the treatment options for Overgrown Toeskin?
What is the best treatment for Overgrown Toeskin?

I Have An Ingrown Toenail What Can I Do

Please tell me if I have ingrown toenails!!! : Ingrown ...

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

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Living With An Ingrown Toenail

It is important to get treatment if you have an infection. If you donât, the infection can spread to the rest of your toe or into your bone.

Treatmentâat home or from your doctorâhelps treat symptoms and heal the nail. Once the nail is healed, practice guidelines to prevent future problems. If you do not practice good foot care, the problem is more likely to reoccur. If you have surgery, it can take 2 to 4 months for your nail to grow back.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery Tips

After ingrown toenail surgery, treat the affected toe and foot with care. Apply antibiotic ointment and take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your doctor. Keep the surgical area dry and dress the wound as directed. Ask the doctor when it is okay to bathe and follow the doctor’s directions. For at least the first two weeks after surgery, wear tennis shoes or other comfortable footwear. While healing, avoid strenuous physical activities like running. Notify the doctor if increased drainage, redness, swelling, or pain develops.

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How Are Ingrown Toenail Treated

If you have diabetes, nerve damage in your leg or foot, poor blood circulation to your foot or an infection around the nail, see your doctor or podiatrist immediately.

Otherwise, try this:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Then use a cotton bud to gently push away the skin from the nail.
  • Repeat each day for a few weeks, allowing the nail to grow.
  • As the end of the nail grows forward, push a tiny piece of cotton wool or dental floss under it to help the nail grow over the skin and not grow into it. Change the cotton wool or dental floss each time you soak your foot.
  • Do not pick at the toenail or try to remove it yourself.

An infected toenail may be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor or podiatrist may need to drain the pus. In severe cases, part or all of nail may need to be removed.

Treating Ingrown Toenails At Home

How Do I Know If I Have An Ingrown Toenail?

It is imperative that you trim the affected toenail very carefully , soak the foot, use ointment you can make yourself from essential oils to reduce pain and prevent infection, and wear proper footwear. You should not wear socks and shoes when youre at home, and try wearing flip-flops when you go out. This allows your toe to get air while protecting your foot from dirt that can lead to infection.

When cutting or trimming an ingrown toenail, begin by soaking your foot for 20 minutes in Epsom salts or Castile soap. Make sure your fingers are clean as you push the swollen skin carefully away from the nail being careful not to force the skin farther away from the nail than it will go. Beginning at the sides of the toenail and finishing in the middle, carefully cut the nail. Avoid trimming your toenails with too much of a curve as this can cause the corners to be cut too far back. Follow the natural curve of the toe but make sure that when you are finished you can still see the entire leading edge of the toenail from one side to the other. Gently place a small bit of clean cotton between your skin and the ingrown toenail. This helps the toenail to grow back in the right way and prevents ingrown toenails from coming back. Apply ointment and put a bandage on the toe.

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When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For An Ingrown Toenail

Anytime an ingrown toenail has developed into an infection it is wise to seek medical attention. Even if the ingrown toenail is only inflamed without infection, see a doctor if the following conditions also occur:

  • If it has been more than five years since the last tetanus booster shot
  • If there is no improvement after three days of home care
  • If someone has diabetes, poor circulation, AIDS, are on chemotherapy, or have another reason for poor wound healing or an increased risk of infection

Most ingrown toenails can be managed in the doctor’s office. However, go to the emergency department if these circumstances develop:

  • If you have diabetes or are at increased risk for infection and your regular physician is unavailable
  • If you have diabetes or are at increased risk for infection and have any fever or signs of infection in the toe

Treating Ingrown Fingernails Medically

  • 1Go to the doctor. If your ingrown fingernail has become infected, or it has not gotten better after around five days, you may need to see your doctor. Your physician may treat the ingrown fingernail with a topical antibiotic that you spread on the skin.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If the infection is deep in the finger, your physician may prescribe an oral antibiotic.
  • If the ingrown fingernail is caused by a fungus , your doctor can determine this and offer treatment options to you.
  • Let your physician know if the pain around an ingrown fingernail is getting worse, if the redness and tenderness spreads, if you cannot bend the finger at any of the joints, or if you have a fever. These symptoms point to a more severe problem.
  • 2Have your nail surgically lifted. For an ingrown fingernail that is infected but has not started producing pus, your physician may want to lift it. Lifting the nail helps separate the nail from the skin so it can grow over the skin instead of into it.XResearch source
  • When the nail is lifted, your physician will place something between the nail and skin to keep it separate. Usually, your physician will put cotton, dental floss, or a splint under your nail.
  • If your nail is badly infected or ingrown, or you feel uncomfortable lifting the nail yourself, you can get your doctor to lift it.
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