Best Ways to Prevent (or Treat) an Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails are incredibly common. We see them most often in the big toe, although it happens with other toes as well. You’ll suspect you have an ingrown toenail if your big toe is tender, red, or swollen. Confirm it by taking a look at the intersection of the end of the nail, the side of the nail, and the fleshy part of your toe. If the corner of your toenail is growing into the skin on either side, you can be sure it’s ingrown.


It’s not difficult to steer clear of an ingrown toenail. The podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists offer these excellent ways to prevent them from growing in the first place:

  1. Trim your toenails straight across – no curving
  2. Don’t cut your toenails too short
  3. Wear shoes that give your toes room
  4. Check your feet often for signs of an ingrown toenail and address it quickly before it gets worse.


If you do find you have an ingrown toenail, how you approach the treatment depends on how severe the problem is.

For non-diabetics, tenderness and a slight swelling are not really cause for alarm. Use home treatments like warm foot soaks, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and applying antibiotic ointments and bandages. With proper care, an ingrown toenail may resolve itself over time.

Severe pain or discomfort, the presence of pus or redness that appears to be spreading are red flags for anyone with an ingrown toenail. These are all signs of infection. Left untreated, an infection can spread to the underlying bones of your feet. Anyone who experiences these complications needs immediate evaluation and care at our river region office.

Diabetics should act fast

People with diabetes have feet that are much slower to heal, putting them at greater risk for complications from ingrown toenails – infection, ulcers, and even gangrene.
Diabetics who suspect that they have an ingrown toenail should make an appointment right away with one of our doctors, Heidi M. Christie, D.P.M. or Michael L. Rosenberg, D.P.M. here in Montgomery, AL.

Even if you’ve practiced good avoidance tactics, you could still get an ingrown toenail. If you have any concerns at all, especially if you have diabetes, don’t hesitate. Contact our experienced podiatrists today: call us at (334) 396-3668 or request an appointment online.