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Ingrown Toenail Treatment & Home Remedies

By HERWriter
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For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no discharge), your doctor may place cotton under the edge of the nail to separate the nail from the overlying skin. This helps the nail eventually grow above the skin edge.

Partial nail removal. For a more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain and pus), your doctor may trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Before this procedure, your doctor may numb your toe by injecting it with an anesthetic.

Nail and tissue removal. For a recurrent ingrown toenail, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of your toenail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed) to prevent that part of your nail from growing back. This procedure can be done with a chemical, a laser or other methods.

Your doctor may also recommend using topical or oral antibiotics for ingrown toenail treatment, especially if the toe is infected or at risk of becoming infected.

You can treat most ingrown toenails at home. Here are some home treatments for ingrown toenails:

Soak your feet. Do this for 15-20 minutes three times a day in warm water. Soaking reduces swelling and relieves tenderness.

Place cotton under your toenail. Put fresh bits of cotton under the ingrown edge after each soaking. This will help the nail eventually grow above the skin edge. Change the cotton daily until the pain and redness subside.

Use a topical antibiotic. Apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage the tender area.

Choose sensible footwear. Consider wearing open-toed shoes or sandals until your toe feels better.

Take pain relievers. If there's severe pain, take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to relieve the pain until you can make an appointment with your doctor.

Check your feet. If you have diabetes, check your feet daily for signs of ingrown toenails or other foot problems.


MC Ortega is the former publicist for the late Walter Payton, Coca-Cola and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Thanks for the great article! I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I haven't had an ingrown toe nail in a very long time (ever since I read that you should ALWAYS cut your nails straight across). My husband still gets them due to the nature of his job and wearing closed-toed shoes for 12-14 hours straight on his feet. Since changing his shoes he has not had an ingrown nail but at least now we know how to fix this annoying little problem without having to wait till the ingrown nail grows out of the irritating spot.

Thanks again MC!

March 23, 2010 - 1:34pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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