Ingrown Toe Nails

Ingrown toe nail can be painful.
Ingrown toe nail can be painful.

Ingrown toenails almost always occur on the big toe. They can cause significant pain, and as well have the potential for infection.


An ingrown nail can result form a number of factors, ranging from; tight shoes, poor or improper nail care, and genetic predisposition.


There are two steps to treating an ingrown nail:

  1. Clear up any infection that might be present.
  2. Remove the part of the nail that is growing into the toe.

Cutting the nail on your own can be very painful, and could promote infection if not done properly. Having a podiatrist do it, under local anesthesia if necessary, is the best way. Soaking the toe 2-3 times per day in warm salt water can help to reduce any infection. Antibiotics are rarely needed. If the condition is chronic, a podiatrist can permanently remove all, or part, of the nail root so that the ingrown toenail never recurs.


Cut your toe nails regularly, but cut them straight across. Never round the corners or edges. Make sure you wear shoes that have adequate width and depth, and are not too tight.

Activity Restrictions

None. But don’t let an ingrown nail sit unattended too long. Prevention and early treatment are the best solutions. These can be painful.