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Skin Problems

Ingrown Toenails

Prevention - Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Ingrown toenails usually develop when an improperly trimmed toenail cuts into the skin at the edge of the nail or when you wear shoes that are too tight. Because the cut can easily become infected, prompt care is needed.


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  • Cut toenails straight across and leave the nails a little longer at the corners so that the sharp ends don't cut into the skin.

  • Wear roomy shoes, and keep your feet clean and dry.

    Cut toenails straight across.

Home Treatment

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  • Soak your foot in warm water.

  • Wedge a small piece of wet cotton under the corner of the nail to cushion the nail and lift it slightly to keep it from cutting the skin. Repeat daily until the nail has grown out and can be trimmed.

  • Soaking the feet in warm water for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day, will help relieve swelling or tenderness while toenails grow out.

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If signs of infection develop:

    • Increased pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness.

    • Heat or red streaks extending from the area.

    • Discharge of pus.

    • Fever of 37.8°C (100°F) or higher with no other cause.

  • If you have diabetes or circulatory problems.


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