How do I treat my baby's ingrown toenails?

How do I treat my baby's ingrown toenails?

Answered by: Angela Rosas, M.D.

Question: My 3-month-old son's toenails are ingrown. They are very red and very swollen. His doctor says they will grow out, but now they are growing crooked and have pus under the skin. When I touch his toes he cries in pain. How can I treat his toes and reduce the pain?

Answer: Ingrown toenails are common in infancy, and occasionally they can result in the symptoms you describe. Infant toenails are flexible and the toenail corner can turn into the raw cuticle, causing irritation. The fact that your baby's toenails are red, swollen and tender, and seem to be draining pus suggests a bacterial infection, for which you should see your baby's doctor. If your baby develops a fever, or if the redness spreads beyond the toe, contact your baby's doctor immediately. In cases where only the skin around the toenail is red and swollen, and there is no pus or fever, you can try some home remedies. Soak his toes in warm soapy water twice daily. Apply a topical antibiotic cream four to five times a day. Once a toe is less tender, try to bend the toenail up and out of the cuticle after bathing. To prevent future ingrown toenails, cut the toenails straight across as needed, so the corners stay relatively long.

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