| Everything About Ingrown Toenails
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Everything About Ingrown Toenails

Everything About Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is when the toenail grows into the surrounding skin and tissue causing swelling, pain, and redness. Ingrown toenails affect the big toe primarily. The sharp end presses into the flesh. Without treatment, it will continue to grow resulting in drainage, infection, and difficulty walking.


There are several causes including:

  • improperly fitting shoes
  • improperly grooming of nails
  • cutting toenails too short or rounding the nail edges
  • trauma like a stubbed toe
  • neoplasms
  • obesity
  • excessive external pressure
  • thick or curved nails


Some home remedies include (to name a few):

  • Soaking in warm soapy water to decrease swelling and pain. This can be done three times a day for 20 minutes. Castile soap and Epsom salts in the water aid in the relief of pain and swelling.
  • Apple cider vinegar in warm water may help. The vinegar has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving qualities.
  • Use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or cream to enhance healing and decrease the risk of infection. Ointments include Neosporin, Polysporin, and Bactroban.
  • A toe protector will cushion the toenails.



People usually go to the doctor when the ingrown toenail causes pain, redness, and swelling of the toe. People with circulation problems, numbness, immune disorders, or diabetes should be attentive to treatment because there are serious complications including the possibility of losing a limb.


Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • pain
  • redness
  • swelling at the toenail
  • tenderness
  • limping


Overgrowth of tissue over the nail can cause permanent changes in the skin/tissue that can cause infection, increased pain and swelling.


Symptoms of infection include:

  • redness
  • warmth around the nail and surrounding tissue
  • increased swelling
  • throbbing pain
  • pus and foul odor

Ampicillin, amoxicillin, and vancomycin are common antibiotics used to treat the infection.

With severe or recurring ingrown toenails, surgical removal of the nail or part of the nail may be required. Depending on the severity, the entire nail may need to be removed. This is only done as a last resort because it is a potentially painful resolution and there is a risk of infection.

You should see a doctor if:

  • Pain and swelling become severe.
  • Home remedies are ineffective
  • you have an allergic reaction to home remedy


Ingrown toenails can cause severe pain and infection that can potentially spread to the bone.


Prevention is the best option. Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper grooming and wearing shoes that fit well. To decrease the pressure on the site wearing sandals or going barefoot for a couple days will help. Prevention is the best option and includes proper grooming, soaking the nails before trimming them, cutting the nail straight across with clippers, leave enough nail to cover the toe. Sharp edges may be filed with an emery board. Watch your step to avoid toenail injury and wear protective footwear especially if there is a risk of injury at work.

Wear socks and shoe that fit well. Women need to consider the impact of high heels that are tight and pointed. Tight hosiery can also cause pressure.

Ingrown toenails can return if steps are not taken to prevent them.

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