How to Handle an Ingrown Toenail

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- extra skin growth around the sharp part of your toenail; and
- infected toenail tissue (if it is infected, the pain will increase in intensity, swelling will continue, redness will spread and there is the rare possibility that you will become feverish; an untreated infection could lead to a bone infection).

If you have diabetes, do not try any of your great-grandmother's home remedies for ingrown toenails. You should see your physician right away. (Not next week - now!) Diabetes puts you at an even greater risk for infection than the average Jane because diabetes impairs your circulation and causes wounds to heal slowly.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

If you're fairly healthy, you can try your great-grandmother's home remedies, which may include the following:

- Fill a basin with warm water and soak your feet up to 4 times a day for about 20 minutes each time. It's not necessary to add anything to the warm water. This should reduce swelling and ease any tenderness.
- Use soap and water to wash your foot twice a day. When you're not washing or soaking your feet, keep them dry.
- Break off a few snippets of a clean cotton ball, roll them into a small wick and place them under the ingrown edge of your toenail after you have soaked your feet. Although this is painful, it's important because it will help nudge the nail back above the skin. After each soaking, bite the bullet and push a snippet of cotton farther under the nail. Use a clean piece of cotton each time and do this daily until the redness and pain stops. It might take up to 15 days for your nail to stop piercing your skin.