Ingrown Toenail Care: The Comprehensive Guide

Sep 29, 2023

Welcome to The Foot Practice, your trusted podiatrists specializing in Foot Care. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the best practices for ingrown toenail care. Whether you are struggling with recurring ingrown toenails or simply want to prevent them from occurring, we have got you covered!

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a common foot condition where the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and infection. This condition typically affects the big toe but can occur in any toe. Ingrown toenails can be caused by various factors such as improper nail trimming, tight-fitting shoes, trauma, or inherited nail shape.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to ingrown toenails. Follow these tips to reduce the likelihood of developing this painful condition:

  • Proper Nail Trimming: Trim your nails straight across and avoid rounding the edges. Be cautious not to cut them too short, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Well-Fitted Shoes: Wear shoes that provide enough room for your toes and avoid tight footwear that puts pressure on your nails.
  • Avoid Trauma: Protect your feet from injuries that may result in nail damage. If you participate in activities that pose a risk, make sure to wear protective footwear.
  • Healthy Nail Care: Keep your feet clean and dry, and moisturize your nails and cuticles regularly to maintain their strength.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail is essential for prompt intervention and treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain: Discomfort or pain around the affected toe, particularly when pressure is applied.
  • Redness and Swelling: The surrounding skin turns red, becomes swollen, and may feel tender or warm to touch.
  • Difficulty Walking: Severe cases can make it challenging to walk or wear shoes comfortably.
  • Infection: If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to infection, causing pus, drainage, and an unpleasant odor.

Ingrown Toenail Care

If you are experiencing discomfort or suspect an ingrown toenail, follow these steps for initial care:

  1. Soak your feet: Prepare a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. This will help reduce pain and swelling.
  2. Gently lift the nail: Using a clean cotton ball, gently lift the edge of the ingrown toenail and place a small piece of sterile cotton or dental floss between the nail and the skin to encourage proper growth.
  3. Apply an antibiotic ointment: After lifting the nail, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  4. Protect the affected toe: Cover the toenail with a bandage or sterile gauze to prevent further irritation or injury.
  5. Consult a podiatrist: If the pain persists, intensifies, or shows signs of infection, it is crucial to seek professional care from a qualified podiatrist.

When to Seek Professional Help

While initial care at home can alleviate mild symptoms of an ingrown toenail, it is essential to consult a podiatrist if:

  • The pain worsens: If the pain becomes severe and hampers your daily activities.
  • Infection signs: If there are signs of infection, such as pus, increased redness, swelling, or an unpleasant odor.
  • Recurrent ingrown toenails: If you experience ingrown toenails frequently, a podiatrist can assess the underlying causes and suggest appropriate treatment options.
  • Diabetes or circulation issues: Individuals with diabetes or poor circulation should never attempt self-treatment and should seek professional care immediately.

Professional Ingrown Toenail Treatments

At The Foot Practice, our experienced podiatrists offer a range of effective treatments to address persistent or severe ingrown toenails:

  1. Nail Trimming: Our podiatrists can safely trim the ingrown toenail, relieving pain and reducing the risk of infection.
  2. Nail Splinting: For recurrent ingrown toenails, our experts may suggest using a splint or brace to correct the nail growth and prevent future occurrences.
  3. Partial Nail Avulsion: In severe or chronic cases, a partial nail avulsion may be recommended, which involves removing a portion of the nail and underlying tissue to promote healthy regrowth.
  4. Laser Treatment: In some instances, laser therapy may be employed to target and destroy the nail matrix responsible for the ingrown toenail, preventing its regrowth.


Ingrown toenails can be painful and bothersome, but with the right care and professional guidance, you can find relief and prevent future occurrences. At The Foot Practice, we pride ourselves on providing top-notch podiatric care and helping our patients achieve healthy and pain-free feet. Don't let an ingrown toenail hold you back - contact us today to schedule an appointment and begin your journey toward optimal foot health!

Jovica Stanojlovic
This guide is a lifesaver! 💯💅
Nov 9, 2023
Morgan Brady
This guide saved my toenails!
Nov 7, 2023
Maud Cuenin
This guide is extremely helpful.
Nov 6, 2023
Joesph Owens
Great job! 👍
Oct 24, 2023
David Aarts
Thanks for the insightful tips! Will definitely follow this guide to take care of my ingrown toenail.
Oct 19, 2023
Gary Williams
👣 Great guide! Appreciate the helpful tips and advice! 🙌👍
Oct 15, 2023
Liana Hill
Informative, thank you!
Oct 7, 2023
Cantrina Dent
Great tips! Taking care of ingrown toenails can be tricky, but this comprehensive guide makes it much easier. Thanks for sharing!
Oct 3, 2023