Ingrown Toenail Treatment- Dermatology, Podiatric Medicine

An ingrown toenail can be seen as a growing soft flesh in the corner or side of the toenails. This  is painful and can cause swelling and infection. The big toe is usually affected.

Ingrown toenails can be managed at home by yourself, but for severe ingrown cases. you can immediately consult a doctor to avoid future complications and infections. Diabetic persons have a greater chance of developing complications if they have ingrown toenails.

Here are some forms of ingrown toenail treatment:

Lifting the nail

This may be done for a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no pus)

Partially removing the nail

For a more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain and pus), your doctor may partially trim or totally remove the ingrown portion of the nail.

Removing the nail and tissue

If you have this problem repeatedly on the same toe, your doctor may propose removing a part of the nail alongside the hidden tissue (nail bed).

Why is ingrown toenail treatment required?

Treatment for ingrown toenails is needed if pain, redness, swelling and, sometimes, an infection is bothering you. For those people with diabetes, it is better to seek treatment immediately if ingrown toenails make you feel mild discomfort. This is to avoid future complications.

Which doctor to consult?

Your general doctor or a foot specialist (podiatrist) can diagnose an ingrown toenail. They can help you manage ingrown toenails on your own, and may also perform treatment to avoid risks.

What to expect during the procedure?

Different types of surgical treatments are there for ingrown toenails:

Partial nail removal

This treatment will totally remove the piece of nail that is embedded into your skin. Your doctor will apply a numbing cream to make you feel at ease during the treatment. It has proven to be 98% effective in preventing ingrown toenails from reccuring.

A liquid called phenol will be applied by your doctor after ingrown removal to prevent the nail from growing back.

Total nail removal

This may be done if the ingrown nail is already thickened. Local anesthesia is administered by your doctor before removing the entire nail. This procedure is also called matrixectomy.

Lifting the nail

Your doctor may cautiously lift the ingrowing nail edge and place cotton, dental floss or a brace under it. This isolates the nail from the overlying skin and enables the nail to develop over the skin edge. At home, you'll need to soak the toe and replace the material daily.

Partially removing the nail

Prior to this procedure, your doctor may temporarily numb your toe by infusing it with an anesthetic.

Removing the nail and tissue

This procedure may keep that piece of your nail from getting back. Your doctor will utilize a substance, laser or different strategies.

Post-operative care

To allow your toenail to heal quickly, you will be advised to raise your foot for two days. Also, you should keep the bandage over your toenails, and wear special footwear when walking around.

If possible, please avoid moving from one place to another. The bandage will be removed after two days from the procedure. After this, you can soak your treated toenails into salt water until they are completely healed. Pain relievers or antibiotics will be prescribed by your doctor.


Bone infections will likely occur if ingrown toenail isn’t treated or detected immediately.

For a diabetic person, complications are more serious. These include poor blood flow and foot nerve damage.

Gangrene requires surgery to prevent blood flow interruption.


  • Ingrown toenails - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. (2019). Retrieved from
  • Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis. (2019). Retrieved from

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