Infected Ingrown Toenail

An infected ingrown toenail occurs when the nail edge grows into the skin and bacteria invade the area. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling, and pus drainage from the edge of the nail. Poorly fitting shoes, minor injuries, and improper cutting of the toenail may also contribute to the problem. You should cut your toenails squarely instead of rounding the edges. Do not cut them too short. Avoid tight or pointed toe shoes. Sometimes the ingrown portion of the nail must be removed. If your toenail is removed, it can take 3-4 months for it to re-grow.


  • Soak your infected toe in warm water for 20-30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.

  • Packing or dressings applied to the area should be changed daily.

  • Take medicine as directed and finish them.

  • Reduce activities and keep your foot elevated when able to reduce swelling and discomfort. Do this until the infection gets better.

  • Wear sandals or go barefoot as much as possible while the infected area is sensitive.

  • See your caregiver for follow-up care in 2-3 days if the infection is not better.


Your toe is becoming more red, swollen or painful.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.