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Ingrown Toenails

If it is early in the course of the ingrown toenail, then home care may be successful in preventing the need for surgery.

Soak the foot in warm water 4 times a day.  You do not need to add soap or antibacterial agents to the water.  Pharmacies usually carry special soak packs, like Pedi-Boro soak packs or Epsom salt.   

Wash the foot including the affected area twice a day with soap and water.  Keep the foot clean and dry during the rest of the day.
Do not wear high heels or tight-fitting shoes.  Consider wearing sandals, if appropriate, until the condition clears up.

Try to lift up the corner of the nail that is digging into the skin.  Take a small piece of cotton or gauze and roll it between your fingers to form a small roll or wick.  Then place the roll between the nail and the skin to keep it elevated.  This is painful but is the most important part of home treatment.  After every soaking, try to push the roll a little farther in.

You may take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you see no improvement within 3 days, call your doctor.

Medical Treatment

If no acute infection is found, then the nail will be elevated and conservative treatment recommended.  This consists of warm soaks, proper shoes, and frequent cleaning of the nail.

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