How to Handle an Ingrown Toenail

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- Buy an over-the-counter topical antibiotic ointment and apply it to the painful area, then apply a clean bandage.
- Avoid wearing high heels or tight shoes while your ingrown toenail heals. In fact, this would be a good time to wear sandals or some other form of open toe shoes.
- If the pain is severe, try some over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. Meanwhile, make an appointment to see your doctor, but if you have diabetes, go straight to the emergency room.

For an infected ingrown toenail, home remedies may provide relief, but they are not the solution. Medical attention is necessary. You should especially see a doctor if you have not had a tetanus shot in 5 years or if your toenail has not improved after 3 days of home care.

A Few Things Stronger than a Home Remedy

Your podiatrist or family practitioner will decide whether you have an infection by examining your ingrown toenail and asking questions about how it developed, any pre-existing medical conditions you may have and your most recent tetanus shot. You may have to get a new tetanus shot because there is a chance that an ingrown toenail could lead to tetanus.

The doctor might even order an X-ray and blood tests if a severe infection is suspected. Then, you would receive an anesthetic injection at the point where your toe connects to your foot. This will numb your toe so your doctor can drain the infection, which will likely eliminate the need for antibiotics.