Infected Ingrown Toenail
Infected Ingrown Toenails
An infected ingrown toenail means the protruding edge of your toenail is growing into your toe's skin splicing it, allowing bacteria in, causing an infection.
Infected Ingrown Toenail Symptoms
- Pain! Infected ingrown toenails hurt as they slowly slice through your skin and pinch the surrounding nerves.
- Pus. The opening provided into your skin by an ingrown toenail allows bacteria on your skin, socks, and shoes to gain entry causing localized infection.
Infected Ingrown Toenail Treatment
- Antibiotics to kill bacteria. Oral antibiotics are more effective than topical antibiotic creams as they penetrate the infected toenail better.
- Toenail soaks in warm water with bath salts help to loosen up debris, express infected pus, and soothes the cut skin.
- Antiinflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin reduce soreness.
- Cotton bevel. Once the soreness has subsided, each day a small rolled ball of cotton can be placed under the ingrown nail edge gently with a toothpick or tweezers. The cotton pushes the nail edge up and over the restricting skin for several weeks. Once the nail edge has grown past the skin barrier the cotton lifts are no longer needed.
- Bandage tension. A plaster can be used to pull on the edge of the toe's skin keeping it away from the ingrowing nail and anchored to the bottom of the toe to keep tension and replaced daily - see picture below.
- Cut the nail straight across when grown out, and not curved to prevent ingrown toenail recurrence.
- If the nail pain doesn't settle, the entire nail or the offending wedge may need to be removed surgically.
Infected Ingrown Toenail Prevention
- Don't wear shoes that are too pointy or tight at the tips so your toes aren't squeezed together.
- Cut nails straight across - not curved - with a straight clipper.
- Dry your feet thoroughly after baths and swims.