Ingrown Toenails

Tenderness, redness and swelling of skin surrounding the corner of the toenail on one of the big toes is an ingrown toenail.

Prevention includes:

  • Avoiding tight fitting or narrow shoes (for example, cowboy boots).
  • Cutting the toenails straight across, leaving the corners. Do not cut them too short.


  • Soak foot twice a day in warm water with an antibacterial soap or Epson salts.
  • While the foot is soaking, massage outward the swollen part of the cuticle.
  • Use an antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin). If the cuticle is just red and irritated, an antibiotic ointment is not needed. However, if cuticle becomes swollen or drainage occurs, apply the antibiotic ointment 2-3 times a day.

Have your child wear sandals on his/her feet to prevent pressure on the toenail while it heals. Newborns often have ingrown toenails. Massaging the toes daily may help and remember to cut nails straight across and avoid rounding.

Call our office immediately if a fever develops which exceeds 101°, if your child is having chills or if a red streak spreads beyond the toe.

Call during office hours if the toe develops pus or yellow drainage, if the symptoms have not improved using the above protocol, or if the symptoms have
not resolved within two weeks.