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An ingrown toenail is a common condition in which the corner or side of one of your toenails grows into the soft flesh of that toe. The result is pain, redness, swelling and, sometimes, an infection. An ingrown toenail usually affects your big toe.

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can progress to an infection or even an abscess that requires surgical treatment.


Nonsurgical Treatment:

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. If they are recognized early (before infection sets in), home care may prevent the need for further treatment:

1) Soak the foot in warm water 3-4 times daily.
2) Keep the foot dry during the rest of the day.
3) Wear comfortable shoes with adequate room for the toes. Consider wearing sandals until the condition clears up.
4) You may take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief.
5) If there is no improvement in 2-3 days, or if the condition worsens, call your doctor.

Surgical Treatment:

If excessive inflammation, swelling, pain and discharge are present, the toenail is probably infected and should be treated by a physician. You may need to take oral antibiotics and the nail may need to be partially or completely removed. The doctor can surgically remove a portion of the nail, a portion of the underlying nail bed, some of the adjacent soft tissues and even a part of the growth center. 

To find out more information on Ingrown Toenail, please visit the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Sara Zickuhr Designsist, south bay ortho