Ask The Experts
I often get ingrown toenails that cause the skin around the nail to become puffy and painful. What can I do to stop this?
Here are some tips:
- Make sure your shoes are not too tight in the toe box area. Tight shoes can compress the toes and cause ingrown toenails.
- Trim toenails regularly (at least every two weeks). Cut them straight across, not on a curve, and file down sharp edges using an emery board.
- Don’t cut toenails too close to the skin. There should be a few millimeters (about 1/8 of an inch) of skin showing above the nails.
- Use clean nail clippers or scissors. Sanitize them periodically by immersing them in alcohol.
Mild cases of ingrown toenail can often be treated safely at home by gently lifting the ingrown part of the nail and placing a small square of gauze under the nail bed until swelling diminishes. Soak your feet briefly in warm water first to soften the skin and make it easier to treat. Apply antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent infection.
NOTE: Do not attempt to treat ingrown toenails if you have diabetes. Instead, see your foot health care professional.