Take Care of an Ingrown Toenail Before It Gets Worse


Switching back to closed-toe shoes when you have been wearing sandals all summer may not be easy, but if you notice toe pain in your new routine, then you may have an ingrown toenail.

The cause of an ingrown toenail is when the nail cuts into the tender skin and tissue at its side. By not correctly trimming toenails can also result in an ingrown toenail. Nails should be cut straight across and not rounded at the edges. Shoes that are too tight or narrow in the toe box can also create or contribute to an ingrown nail, as can trauma from having an item dropped on the toe.

Besides pain, other ingrown toenail symptoms include swelling and redness. The injury may become infected – watch for signs of pus or spreading redness.

The best way to deal with an ingrown toenail is to visit our office if wearing shoes is uncomfortable and especially if there is an infection. Patients with diabetes must be careful of any damage to their feet and toes. Never try to correct an ingrown toenail by yourself, as this can worsen the damage.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

Based on our findings and your individual situation, we have several options to treat your ingrown nail:

  • In the absence of an infection, we can try to lift the nail so it will grow out properly.

  • For a more serious ingrown toenail that is infected and extremely painful, we may choose to remove the part of the nail that is ingrown.

  • For a persistent problem, we will remove the ingrown nail and also part of the nail bed tissue so that it won’t grow back again.

These procedures can be completed right in our office with local anesthesia. To help complete the healing, we may recommend topical or oral antibiotics.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

  • Always trim your toenails straight across! Don’t cut them too short. At nail salons, watch carefully to make sure the technician does it properly.

  • Wear well-fitting shoes with plenty of room in the toe area. Avoid high heels as these place too much pressure on toenails.

  • If appropriate for your work, wear protective footwear with reinforced or steel toes.

  • Check your feet every day, especially if you have diabetes, to keep on top of any foot or toenail problem.

Don’t Live with the Pain of an Ingrown Toenail

Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have toenail pain, heel pain or plantar fasciitis, discomfort from arthritis, an injury, or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.