If your toenail grows into your skin instead of growing over the top of it, you might need ingrown toenail surgery. An infected ingrown toenail is red, painful, swollen and may even have pus draining from it. Ingrown toenails are more common in people who have thick, curved nails and in older adults. An ingrown fingernail is much less common. If you have symptoms, you might want to try some ingrown toenail home remedies for just a few days. Two or three times each day, use a warm water soak for your toe. Soak the toe for 15 minutes. Then take a small bit of cotton ball and wedge it under the nail to lift the corner as the nail grows out. Do this daily until you can safely trim the nail. Never try to dig the nail out of the flesh or poke the foot to drain pus because this can make things a lot worse. While you are healing, wear shoes that do not press on the toe. If you are fortunate you will be able to avoid ingrown toenail surgery. If these measures don’t help, if you have pus draining or red streaks appear on the toe or foot, call the doctor immediately.
If you have an infection, the doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics along with ingrown toenail surgery. In more severe cases, the doctor may perform a complete or partial toenail removal. A podiatrist will numb the area and do the procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions for after care. Typically you will be asked to use antibiotic ointment twice a day at the surgical site, bandage the toe, soak the toe for 15 minutes two or three times a day, wear shoes that do not press on the affected toe, and take pain medication as prescribed.
You can be proactive in helping to prevent the need for ingrown toenail surgery in the first place. Wear shoes that are comfortable and roomy. Wear protective shoes if you work in a place where you could hurt your toe. Trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut them in a curve. Avoid cutting your toenails too short, especially at the corners. If you have other foot issues like peripheral artery disease or diabetes, ask your doctor about special concerns regarding foot care.