Ask the doctor: Is there a home ingrown toenail treatment?

Q. My big toe has an ingrown toenail. I want to wear attractive shoes again and get rid of the pain. Is there an ingrown toenail treatment that I can do at home?

soaking feet 300x221 Ask the doctor: Is there a home ingrown toenail treatment? Photo

Treat your ingrown toenail at home by soaking the affected foot.

A: Ingrown are common in adults, especially people age 20-30.

The ingrown nail causes a great deal of pain to the toe when its sharp corner digs into the skin, causing inflammation. First, you will see redness and swelling with the pain. If ignored, this area starts to ooze yellowish fluid or develop extra tissue. As time goes on, infections and abscesses can develop, which may necessitate surgery.

There are several causes of ingrown toenails:

  • Stubbing the toe
  • Repeated kicking maneuvers in sports
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Wearing shoes or socks that are too small
  • Cutting the nail too short or rounding the edge

Home Remedy

While the ingrown toenail is in its early stages, there are some steps that you can take to treat it at home.

  • Soak the affected foot or feet in a basin of warm water several times each day.
  • Cleanse the affected area with soap and water twice daily and dry thoroughly.
  • Tylenol or Ibuprofen can be used for pain relief
  • Take gauze or cotton into a small wad and make a tiny wick. Lift the nail gingerly and place the wick between it and the skin. When drying the toes after each soak, try to advance the wick slightly. (This can be quite painful so you may want to take the pain reliever first)
  • Switch from high-heels to sandals.

If there is no change in 3 days, consult your physician. Your doctor may cut back the nail or try to flatten it while placing an insert between the toenail and skin. It is rare at this stage for the toenail to need complete removal.

The good news is you may be back on your feet in 48 hours to 2 weeks!