If your ingrown toenail is less severe, you do not have diabetes or poor circulation, and there are no signs of infection, you may decide to try home care first. (However, you can definitely still call us instead if you just don’t want to deal with the hassle. For most people that really is the better choice!)
You may be able to find relief using the following process:
- Soak your foot in warm water for 15-20 minutes three or four times during the day to relieve tenderness and reduce swelling.
- After soaking the foot, gently lift the ingrown edge of the nail and place a fresh bit of waxed dental floss underneath it. This will help prevent the nail from continuing to grow into the skin.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment on the sensitive area and then cover with a clean bandage.
- Wear sandals or open-toed shoes until the affected toe is feeling better.
- Contact our office for dosage recommendations and then take naproxen, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to relieve toe pain.
While this process can work for less severe ingrown toenails, it’s not our primary recommendation for most patients. Professional treatment is faster, safer, more reliable, and has a lower risk of infection, even for mild cases. Far too often, we end up treating people with severe ingrown toenails who could have saved themselves a lot of time and discomfort by calling us at the first sign of trouble!
Professional Treatment Options
When home care is not enough, not desired, or you are faced with a toenail that is constantly becoming ingrown, it is time to come see us for professional care. Depending on your situation, we may need to remove either a part or all of the nail. The toe is numbed for the procedure, so you’ll only feel pressure—not pain.
This procedure only takes about 5-10 minutes, and you’ll be able to drive home afterward. We recommend you keep your feet up and stick to open-toed shoes for the rest of the day, but for the most part, people can return to normal daily activities within 24 hours.
By the time the anesthetic wears off, you should notice a significant improvement in your symptoms. If you continue to feel mild discomfort, intermittent icing and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories should be more than sufficient to handle it over the next several days. If pain persists or is severe, give us a call.
If recurring ingrown toenails are a problem for you, we can also remove the corresponding portion of the nail bed and stop the growth of new nail tissue. This solves the problem permanently.