The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What Can I Do About My Ingrown Toenail?

Posted by on Thursday, May 9th, 2013


Ingrown toenails are one of the many common issues treated at our NYC Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. We see people of all age groups come in with this type of injury. Often, the problem seems to occur for no real reason at all, but we find risk factors include: tight shoes, improper nail trimming, or foot injury. Sometimes the nail becomes infected and you’ll need to soak them in warm water with Epsom salts, apply antibiotic ointment, and stop in to see us for treatment. Generally, treatment is a quick outpatient procedure that allows you to return to work the same day.

Basic Ingrown Toenail Treatment

There are several treatments your podiatrist can do when you come in to have your ingrown toenail treated. We  may…

  • Recommend decreased activity, such as running or sports, to reduce inflammation
  • Massage the inflamed area to promote fluid drainage
  • Prescribe antibiotics to treat infection
  • Perform a debridement using a clipper and nail sander
  • Elevate the nail edge using a piece of wood and cotton

Surgical Treatment For Ingrown Toenails

Patients who suffer from repeat infections or who are in a lot of pain may require surgery. During the procedure, the doctor injects the toe with a local anesthetic and uses scissors to cut away the ingrown toenail, taking care not to disturb the nail bed. This process is called “partial nail avulsion.” For the most severe cases, a “complete nail plate avulsion” may be needed, although removing the whole nail is associated with greater risk of deformity.

What To Expect From Toenail Treatment

Minor treatment can be as easy as a quick outpatient procedure, with people able to return to work same day. Unfortunately, you’re at the mercy of your slow toenail regrowth to know for certain if you’ve fully recovered. This could take upwards of three months.

If surgery is needed, it may be recommended that you get additional bed rest and keep the leg elevated for two to three days. Mild bruising, bleeding and pain is to be expected. The toe will need to remain bandaged, with an antiseptic ointment applied. Recovery time for the surgery may take up to four months for full healing, but patients can generally return to work within a few days.

Ingrown Toenail Prevention


  • The best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to trim the nails straight across — NOT in a rounded shape, says Discovery Fit & Health.
  • It’s also helpful to wear roomy shoes with a larger toe box to prevent toes from being squished together.
  • Painful inflammation can be addressed by soaking the foot in a solution of 50% iodine, 50% warm water for 20 minutes.
  • Another soak involves Domeboro Astringent Solution, an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory product available at drug stores.
  • Antiseptic can be applied after every bath or shower to prevent infection of the nail.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.