How to treat an ingrown fingernail

Some people have an abnormal growth of nails in a finger or a toe, which irritates the person. How to treat an ingrown fingernail?

First, what does it mean?

It means abnormal growth of the end of a fingernail that grows downwards into the side ridges of skin on both sides of the nail.

It’s not much common as ingrown toenail because the fingernails are not exposed to prolonged pressure as well as their configuration and direction of growth.


  • Biting of fingernails.
  • Fungal infection of the nails.
  • Injury to fingernails.
  • Improper trimming of nails, that’s to say a presence of a spike on the nail end.


  • Pain at the fingernail due to the impeding of the nail into the skin ridges around.
  • Swelling of the fingertip.
  • Manifestations of infection, such as redness, pain on touch, and hotness as well as pus discharge. These manifestations are extreme in cases of ingrown fingernail abscess.


It hardens the daily activities which involve using hands. This is secondary to the pain and abscess formation.

Infection could be fungal or bacteria infection.

How to treat an ingrown fingernail

The patient can try to treat himself by the following methods (except for diabetic patients):

  • Dipping the affected finger in warm salt water for 15-20 min, and then dry it and put an antibiotic ointment to the nail. The last step is to apply a loose bandage.
  • Another method for a higher degree of the ingrown fingernail is to cut a small piece of clean gauze or cotton and then put it just below the affected nail. This will reduce the pressure as well as pain. Moreover, it will allow the nail to grow in the right direction.
  • If the previous method was difficult, use waxed teeth floss instead.  

Physicians recommend surgical removal of the ingrown nail in severe cases.

Prevention of ingrown fingernail

Each one should apply the next steps in order to keep the normal growth of fingernails, thus, prevents ingrown fingernails:

  • Washing hands with soap and water before trimming fingernails.
  • Soak them in warm water, if there is a mild ingrown fingernail.
  • Be sure that the clipper is clean and is specific for fingernails.
  • Clipping the nails straight across and then use a nail file to make them a rounded end.
  • Avoid cutting the cuticles and the skin ridges on both sides of the nail.

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