Ingrown Toenails

Trimming your toenails too short, especially at the sides of your big toes, puts you at risk for ab ingrown toenail. Most people cut their toenails so that it curves at the corners, following the shape of the toe. This encourages the toenail to grow into the skin of your toe. Eventually, the sides of your nail might curl down and dig into your skin. Wearing shoes that are too small or too tight can contribute to this problem.


You may notice that you have a hard, swollen, and tender toe. Later, it may become very sore and red, which are both signs of an infection. Sometimes, there may be a small amount of pus or thick white fluid draining from the painful area.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Your ingrown toenail should ideally be treated before infection sets in. Home care is very effective in preventing the need for further treatment:

  • Warm water soaks – soak your foot in warm water 2-4 times daily
  • Comfortable shoes – wear shoes that have a roomy toebox, or sandals, until the pain is gone
  • Pain medication – you may take over-the-counter pain medication
  • Consult a Foot and Ankle Specialist if there is no improvement in 2-3 days

Surgical Treatment

If there is too much swelling, pain, and discharge, your toenail is probably infected. You should be treated by a physician promptly – oral antibiotics may be prescribed, and in some cases, surgery may be needed to let the pus drain out completely.

If your pain and/or infection keeps coming back, you may need a Foot and Ankle Surgeon to reconstruct your toenail to prevent it from ever coming back. This is a minor surgery using only local anesthesia, and you can go home within the day. 


Your toes should always have adequate room in your shoes to prevent constant pressure on your nails. Toenails should also be cut straight across – no rounding at the corners; and they should also be no shorter than the edge of the toe.

If you think that you may have an Ingrown toenail, consult with our Foot and Ankle Orthopedic Specialists.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on Asian Hospital. By continued use, you accept our use of such cookies.