How to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Toenails


Ingrown toenails usually occur on the big toe when the corner or side of the nail grows laterally and pushes into the skin instead of growing over the top of it. This leads to pain, swelling and the possibility of an infection occurring. As with a lot of conditions that affect the feet, tight fitting shoes are a primary cause.


Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

One of the initial indications of an ingrown toenail is the pain and throbbing. The tissue surrounding the nail will be red and swollen and there may be a yellowish discharge in this area. Even lightly stubbing your toe at this point is enough to create extreme pain.


Causes of Ingrown Toenails

In general, an ingrown toenail is the result of cutting your nail too short. Stubbing or injuring your toe can also cause the nail to grow abnormally. As previously mentioned, shoes that are too tight can make the problem worse. Certain individuals may also have a genetic predisposition to this disorder.


Prevention of Ingrown Toenails

A major protective measure you can take to avoid getting ingrown toenails in the first place is to make sure you don’t cut your nails too short, and that you are careful to cut them straight across rather than on a curve.  You can also use toe spacers to prevent your big toe from jamming into your second toe. Keeping your feet and toes clean is a big help.


Treatment of Ingrown Toenails

Soaking your foot in a warm bath for 10 or 15 minutes can bring instant relief because this softens the hard skin around the nail, relieving a source of the pain. You may try cleaning around the nail with hydrogen peroxide, and inserting a small piece of cotton under the nail where it digs into your skin. This can be painful at first, but will help the nail to grow out properly.


If you continue to experience pain, swelling and redness you should see your foot care specialist for additional evaluation and treatment. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuries, pediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.