How Can You Tell If you have an Infected ingrown Toenail?

Infected ingrown Toenail

How Can You Tell If you have an Infected ingrown Toenail?

Are you experiencing pain and tenderness in any of your toenails? Is the skin on the side of your toenail swollen and red? If you are experiencing these symptoms, you might have an infected ingrown toenail that needs to be treated by a podiatrist. In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms of an ingrown infected toenail, the risks associated with the condition, and treatment options.

The Condition

First and foremost, you should know that ingrown toenails are common. Usually, it happens if you wear tight shoes or happen to cut your nails too short. Some people also have curved toenails which makes them more susceptible to this condition. 

In most cases, you can simply remove the ingrown toenails on your own but if you keep ignoring it, there is a chance that the toenail can become infected and the infection may spread to the underlying bone structure.


Ingrown toenails usually begin with minor symptoms. If you keep ignoring these symptoms, the toenail may become infected and lead to several health complications. Some of the most common symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail are:

  • Red and swollen skin on the side of the affected toenail
  • Constant pain in the toe
  • Feeling pain whenever you wear shoes
  • Overgrowing skin around the nail
  • Blood or pus leaking from an open sore or toenail
  • You feel pain when you touch your toenail
  • Nails that are thick, cracked, and yellow

Associated Risks

An ingrown toenail has the potential to develop a fungal or bacterial infection if not treated on time. If your toenail is ingrown, you could develop MRSA infection and if it is not treated on time, it can easily spread into the underlying bone structure. This infection is typically treated with several weeks of antibiotics and in some cases, surgery is also needed.

Infected ingrown Toenail

Home Remedies

There are certain home remedies you could try when you have an infected ingrown toenail. Keep in mind that these remedies should be tried for only a few days and if you do not notice any improvement, you should immediately visit a qualified podiatrist.

Soak your foot in warm water and use Epsom salts in the water to soften the area. This should also provide you with pain relief. Get an antibiotic or antifungal lotion and apply it directly on the skin and around it and also, around the nail bed.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for an infected ingrown toenail.

  • Lifting the toenail — If the nail isn’t deeply buried into the side of the toe, it is possible for the podiatrist to simply lift the nail at the edge. Once the nail has been lifted, a piece of cotton or splint can be placed underneath to keep it separate from the toe. This process allows toenail growth in a different direction which means it will be able to extend above the skin and not grow inside. Keep in mind that this treatment needs to be performed on a daily basis until the nail starts growing over the skin.
  • Partial removal — If the severity of the infection is such that only partial toenail removal is the best course of action, that procedure will be completed by the professional in the clinic.
  • Complete removal — If the condition is extremely severe, the podiatrist may decide to completely remove the nail as well as part of the underlying tissue. This procedure is conducted after numbing the affected area. 

Once the process has been completed, the toenail will be wrapped up and proper medications will be provided. Usually, it is recommended to revisit the clinic after a period of two weeks to make sure the healing is happening properly and the infection is no longer there.

Final Thoughts

Overall, ingrown toenails are common. If these are not treated properly, there is a high probability of them becoming infected. If you are experiencing redness or swollen skin or pain in the toenail area, you should immediately visit an experienced podiatrist to seek the right treatment.

Upwell Health Collective is known for working one-on-one with patients. We believe in education, treatment, and support to help our patients recover and remain well.

Please get in touch with us at Upwell Health on (03) 8849 9096 or book an appointment today.

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