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How to Treat an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail means the protruding edge of your toe's nail is cutting into the edge of your toe's skin instead of growing past it.

How to Treat an Ingrown Toenail

  • Toe soaks in warm water with bath salts help to loosen up debris, express pus, and soothes the cut skin.
  • Antibiotics to kill bacteria. As your nail cuts into your toe's skin surrounding bacteria can penetrate and cause infection.
  • Antiinflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin can dramatically 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 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 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 recurrence..
  • If the nail pain doesn't settle, the entire nail or the offending wedge may need to be removed surgically.

ingrown toenail treatment - thanks to Dayslypper

Ingrown Toenail Symptoms

  • Pain! Ingrown toenails hurt as they slowly slice through your skin and pinch the surrounding nerves.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness.
  • 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.
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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 showers and swims.

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    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
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