Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Ingrown Toenail - Topic Overview

(continued)

continued...

Your doctor might give you antibiotics. If your toenail is very ingrown, your doctor might suggest minor surgery to remove all or part of the ingrown nail. He or she may refer you to a podiatrist.

During this surgery, the doctor will numb your toe. Then he or she will cut the edge of the ingrown toenail and pull out the piece of nail. To prevent the nail from growing into the skin again, your doctor might destroy all or part of the nail root. This is called ablation. If your doctor removes all or part of your nail but does not destroy the root, it will begin to grow back within a few months.

After the surgery it is important to take care of your toe so that it can heal. Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow. He or she may tell you to:

  • Soak your toe in warm water for 15 minutes 2 to 3 times each day.
  • Rub antibiotic ointment 2 times each day on the toe where the nail was removed.
  • Wear a bandage on your toe.
  • Wear loose-fitting shoes that don't press on the toe where the nail was removed.
  • Take pain medicine if your toe hurts. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin (such as Bayer), ibuprofen (such as Advil), or naproxen (such as Aleve), might help your toe feel better. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.

How can ingrown toenails be prevented?

You may be able to prevent ingrown toenails by wearing roomy and comfortable shoes and socks that do not press on your toes. If you work in a place where your toe might get hurt, wear sturdy shoes such as steel-toed boots to protect your toes.

Be sure to trim your toenails properly. You can do this by cutting your toenail straight across, not curved. Make sure you do not cut your toenail too short. You can also leave your toenail a little longer at the corners to help it grow over the skin.

If you have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, talk with your doctor before you trim your own toenails. People with diabetes have a hard time feeling their toes and might cut themselves without realizing it. Peripheral arterial disease can cause toes to be very painful.

Many hospitals and health care centers have foot care clinics, where someone can help you trim your toenails. Ask your doctor to recommend a foot care clinic near your home.

1 | 2
1 | 2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 
woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz