Dos and Don’ts When It Comes to Ingrown Toenails

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Perhaps you got a little overzealous with the nail clippers and cut your toenail too much. Or maybe you injured it during a soccer game, or perhaps your nail just grows naturally at an odd angle. All of these factors can lead to an ingrown toenail.

While an ingrown toenail can be painful, it can also lead to an infection, especially if you wait too long to get it treated. We have treated many people with ingrown toenails, and if you have one, we can help you, too. In this blog, we discuss how you can prevent ingrown toenails from developing and what you should do if you get one.

Preventing ingrown toenails

Check your feet routinely

Your feet routinely take quite a bit of abuse, whether you’re a sports enthusiast, take regular dance classes, or you simply walk around the house barefoot a lot. It’s easy to take your feet for granted, so pay attention to good foot hygiene and learn how to spot a problem, such as broken skin around the corner of your nail, before it becomes serious.

Trim your toenails carefully

Trimming your toes improperly can lead to an ingrown toenail. When cutting your toenails, cut them straight across, not following the contour of your toe.

Wear the right footwear

Wearing the wrong type of shoes or ill-fitting shoes can contribute to the development of an ingrown toenail and worsen symptoms if you already have one. The best shoes to wear are those with wide toe boxes and ones that fit properly. The same goes for hosiery and socks. They should be comfortable and not too tight.

Treating ingrown toenails

Signs of an ingrown toenail

If you have an ingrown toenail, you can experience one, many, or all of these symptoms:

  • Toe pain and sensitivity where your toenail and skin meet
  • Swelling of the skin that surrounds your nail
  • Redness
  • Signs of infection, such as bleeding and pus drainage

When to treat it at home

If you’re not showing signs of infection, you can try some safe home treatments, such as soaking your toe in warm water with Epsom salt, followed by applying antibiotic ointment and an adhesive bandage. You can also try to use a bit of dental floss or cotton to separate the nail from your skin as your nail grows out.

When to seek professional help

If you don’t want to deal with home remedies, or if home remedies haven’t worked, or if you have an ingrown toenail-related infection, seek professional care. Our team of expert podiatrists can treat your ingrown toenail by providing any of the following:

  • Oral or topical antibiotics
  • A toenail splint
  • Partial nail removal
  • Complete surgical removal of the nail (matricectomy)

It’s Important to know that once an ingrown toenail causes an infection, things can progress quickly, so don’t put off coming to us for treatment.


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