Ingrown Toenail Treatment at Home, OTC and Its Cost


What is the best ingrown toenail treatment? Here are simple but effective ingrown toenail treatments at home for infection and pain. Also see the cost of treating ingrown toe nail.

This is how it goes: You stub your toe on the ground while talking your dog for a walk and before you know it, a painful, swollen ingrown toenail has wreaked havoc in your life. So, how can you go about treating an ingrown toenail and what treatment options are usually available for an infected ingrown toenail?


Ingrown Toenail Treatment at Home

The following is a simple yet very effective treatment for ingrown toenail:

  • Soak your feet in warm soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes to soften up the toenail and the surrounding tissue. You may as well apply some olive oil over the affected area. You may also want to dab some antibacterial cream or ointment onto the affected area.
  • Now push the fold of skin away from toenail in a “downwards and away” kind of motion using a cotton bud. Start at the root of the nail and move up all along to the tip(s) of the affected toenail.
  • Place a small piece of cotton wool or dental floss beneath the toenail to separate it from the underlying skin and ensure it grows above rather than that into it the surrounding soft tissue.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times every day until the ingrown toenail has completely healed.

Once the toenail has had enough time to grow and is now past the tip of the toe, trim it straight across and don’t round off the tips of the toenail to make them match the shape of your toenail nor cut the toenail too short. The ideal length is at par with the tip of your toe.

If the ingrown toenail worsens or doesn’t seem to improve after a week, seek the advice of a podiatrist or your GP. A portion of your nail may have to be removed. You should also seek medical attention rather than try to treat the toenail yourself if you have diabetes.

It is advisable to put on open-toed shoes as the ingrown toenail heals.

Ingrown Toenail Infection Treatment

It is normal for an ingrown toenail to have some degree of pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling. The following symptoms may however be an indication of infection:

  • Increased pain
  • The redness is spreading to cover larger areas of the toe
  • Oozing of pus (yellow or green fluid)
  • The toenail feels warm

If your toenail has showed any or all of the above symptoms the next question is naturally, “what ingrown toenail infection treatment options should you consider?”

You can also treat it at home.

Well, an infected ingrown toenail is best treated by a doctor. You should thus see your doctor or apodistricst immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. You should also avoid giving in to the temptation to prick the ingrown toenail with a sharp object e.g. needle at home in order to squeeze out the pus as this can worsen the infection.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics for ingrown toenail infection treatment. Oral antibiotics are usually given but s/he may as well prescribe topical antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin.

Your doctor may also include pain killers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve you of the pain.

Ingrown Toenail Treatment Cost

Cost is always an important factor especially for those people without medical insurance cover. As with any treatment, the cost for ingrown toenail treatment varies greatly depending on the treatment option required.

For example, while some cases of ingrown toenails will clear with a round of antibiotics and painkillers, others such as those with a hereditary aspect may require surgery.

The experience and location (yes location also influences the cost) of the doctor or podiatrist.

If surgery is required to remove a part or the whole of the problematic toenail, the cost may include facility fee, podiatrist’s fee, and anesthesia and medication. Some podiatrists will give you a simple flat rate while others might quote initial consultation fee and surgery fee separately.

For ingrown toenail surgery, you can expect to pay anything between $200 and $500 including consultation and aftercare visits.

Ingrown Toenail Treatment over the Counter

The word over-the-counter is at the heart of many who don’t relish the idea of going to their doctor’s office every now and then (or should I instead use the term self-treatment enthusiasts?), instead preferring to spare that as the last option.

So what medication options are available for ingrown toenail treatment over the counter you ask?

To start with, you may want to consider getting an over-the-counter antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin to prevent bacterial infection as the ingrown toenail heals.

You may also want to include some over the counter painkillers such as Paracetamol, ibuprofen, or Acetaminophen to relieve the pain. You should however not give aspirin to children aged below 16 years since it can trigger a potentially fatal but rare condition known as Reye’s syndrome.

Painful Ingrown Toenail Treatment

You may perhaps be wondering, “What options do I have for ingrown toenail treatment?”

Well, treating your ingrown toenail daily with warm water and soap (and maybe applying an antibiotic cream as explained in an earlier section of this article) will offer relief in less than one week and is suggested for ingrown toenails that don’t show any signs of infection.

That is to say that the toenail doesn’t feel warm, doesn’t produce pus and doesn’t have excessive redness covering an increasingly large area of skin.

But if the pain seems to be increasing even after treating your ingrown toenail religiously 2 to 3 times daily, you should see a podiatrist. You may be a candidate for an ingrown toenail surgery in which a toenail is removed either in whole or a part under local anesthesia.