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- Improper cutting or trimming of the toenail
- Wearing footwear that is too tight
- Repeated trauma to the toes, often due to sports activities
- Pain—sometimes severe
- Pus draining from the area
- Oral antibiotic medication
- Removing the ingrown portion of the toenail
- Draining the area that has become infected
- Using a splint to lift the corner of the nail away from the soft tissue of the toe
- Remove a portion of the toenail and apply medicine to the site to prevent that portion of the nail from growing back
- Remove the entire toenail so that the nail will not grow back
- Wear open-toed shoes or sandals until the pain and swelling of the nail subsides. This will reduce any pressure on the toenail.
- Soak your foot in warm water for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
- After soaking, dry your foot and toe thoroughly.
- As the toenail grows out, cut it straight across.
Promptly seek medical care for an ingrown toenail if you have any of the following conditions:
- An ingrown toenail that is severe, worsening, or not getting better
- Age: over 50 years
- Circulatory problems
- A disorder of your immune system
- Any other chronic health problem
- Cut your toenails straight across and avoid rounding the edges. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin of your toe.
- Wear shoes and socks that fit properly and are not too tight.
- Keep your feet clean.
- Keep your feet dry by wearing cotton socks and/or using foot powder.
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org
American Podiatric Medical Association http://www.apma.org
Calgary Foot Clinic http://www.foottalk.com
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association http://www.podiatrycanada.org
Ingrown toenails. American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=1522. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Matsumoto K, Hashimoto I, et al. Resin splint as a new conservative treatment for ingrown toenails. J Med Invest. 2010;57(3-4):321-325.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information—Home Edition. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.
Roberts JR, et al. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 4th ed. Saunders; 2004.
Woo SH, Kim IH. Surgical pearl: nail edge separation with dental floss for ingrown toenails. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;50(6):939-940.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/02/2013 -