Any time an ingrown toenail has developed into an infection (drainage, a fever, lighter skin surrounded by red skin, or worsening pain and swelling), see a doctor.
Sometimes initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be safely performed at home. However, home treatment is strongly discouraged if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have a medical condition that puts your feet at high risk (for example, diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation). If you donít have an infection or any of the above conditions, you can soak your foot in room-temperature water (add Epsomís salt if you wish), and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation.
Avoid attempting ďbathroom surgery.Ē Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, itís time to see a foot and ankle surgeon.
Treatment may include:
Oral antibiotics. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.
Surgery. A simple procedure, often performed in the office, is commonly needed to ease the pain and remove the offending nail. Surgery may involve numbing the toe and removing a corner of the nail, a larger portion of the nail, or the entire nail.
Permanent removal. Various techniques may be used to destroy or remove the nail root. This treatment prevents the recurrence of an ingrown toenail. Your foot and ankle surgeon will determine the most appropriate procedure for you.
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by following these two important tips: Trim your nails properly. Cut your toenails in a fairly straight line, and donít cut them too short. Avoid poorly-fitting shoes. Donít wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box.
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