The fastest way to heal an ingrown toenail is to soak the affected foot in warm water to loosen up and clean the surrounding skin. After soaking the foot, and drying it completely, antibiotic ointment should be applied to the area. Sometimes, to heal an ingrown toenail, an antibiotic needs to be taken orally. If a topical antibiotic ointment is ineffective in healing the infection, the physician might recommend an oral antibiotic.
In some cases, ingrown toenail surgery is warranted when conservative measures are not working to heal an ingrown toenail. This procedure is typically done as an office procedure, under a local anesthetic. After the procedure, antibiotic ointment is applied, and a sterile dressing is used to cover the surgical site. Usually, no stitches are required, and the surgical area heals quickly.
When an ingrown toenail begins to show signs of increased redness and swelling, or if the patient experiences symptoms such as fever and chills, the physician needs to notified. In these cases, a stubborn infection might be present, and a change in the treatment plan might be recommended. Although a general practitioner has the experience to heal an ingrown toenail, a podiatrist, or foot doctor, is a specialist in conditions of the foot and might be able to offer different treatment options.
Certain people are prone to ingrown toenails. Runners, for example, put constant pressure on their feet and toes, predisposing them to injury and ingrown toenails. When the tissue around the nail becomes inflamed or injured, an ingrown toenail is more likely to occur. To heal an ingrown toenail while still maintaining a running schedule, individuals need to make sure they do not wear ill fitting running shoes, and try to minimize the impact on the affected area by keeping it covered and well padded.
Ingrown toenails can be especially concerning to people who have diabetes. Circulation is reduced in the diabetic, making wounds and tissue damage slower to heal. Diabetics need to see a doctor at the first sign of discomfort so that measures can be taken to heal an ingrown toenail before infection or tissue damage sets in. In addition, diabetic patients should not attempt to cut their own toenails. They should see a podiatrist on a regular basis who can properly cut their toenails, minimizing the risk of an ingrown toenail. Then, if an ingrown toenail does occur, the podiatrist can quickly diagnose it and begin treatment.