March 27, 2019

How do you fix an ingrown toenail?

Foot and Ankle

If you trim your toenails too short, you may be putting yourself at an increased risk for an ingrown toenail. This causes your toenail to grow into the skin of your toe, rather than out. Most commonly, the big toe is affected.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

  • Cutting toenails too short
  • Cutting corners of your toenails at a curve to match the shape of your toe
  • Shoes that are too tight or too small
  • The toenail is too large for the toe
  • Stubbing your toe
  • Getting your toe stepped on

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail

  • A toenail that is hard, swollen and tender
  • Red, infected or sore toe
  • Redness, pain and swelling in the corner of the toenail

When should you go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail?

If you are unable to treat your toenail successfully or you are in extreme pain, you may visit a foot specialist. To determine whether you have an ingrown toenail, your physician will ask you for a complete medical history, have you describe your symptoms and how the injury occurred and conduct a physical examination.


How do you get rid of an ingrown toenail infection?

Treatment always begins with conservative treatment and includes:

  • Soaking the toe in warm water a few times every day
  • Wearing comfortable shoes or sandals
  • Taking over the counter pain medication for pain relief
  • Gently lifting the edge of the ingrown toenail and inserting cotton between the nail and skin (packing should be changed daily)

Ingrown toenail surgery and recovery

In extreme ingrown toenails, where there is also an infection, surgery may be necessary. Depending on the severity of the ingrown toenail, the nail may be partially or completely removed. Surgery will eliminate the nail edge from continuing to grow inward. It may take three to four months before your toenail regrows.

Learn more about foot and ankle treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan is the current Marketing Team Lead at OrthoIndy. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor and has been with OrthoIndy since June 2012.

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