Prevention and Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
IPFH suggests the best way to prevent ingrown toenails in people with healthy feet is to cut the nails straight across, but not too short, with nail clippers or manicuring scissors, and to lightly refine any sharp edges with an emery board or clean metal file.
If you have an ingrown toenail, soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. This reduces swelling and relieves tenderness.
If you have a slightly ingrown nail (red and painful but with no discharge), placing cotton under the edge of the nail to separate it from the skin can provide relief. Use a clean file to lift the nail up slightly away from the skin. This helps the nail to grow back above the edge of the skin. Use alcohol to cleanse the area before and afterward.
If you have redness, pain and pus, your physician or podiatrist may trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail. For chronic cases, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of the toenail together with the underlying tissue (nail bed) to prevent that part of the nail from growing back. This procedure is often done with chemical, laser or other mechanical procedures.
If you experience severe discomfort in the toe, and/or see signs that pus or redness seem to be spreading, your ingrown toenail might be infected. It’s time to see your doctor. Left unattended, infection can spread within the foot and into the bones.