Infected ingrown toenail + 10k in 3 days!

Hey, all.
I have an infected ingrown toenail in my big toe on my left foot. I've soaked it in hydrogen peroxide for three days (off and on) and kept it gauzed with neosporin throughout the day. The infection is not improving. If fact, it is intensifying.I DO NOT HAVE HEALTH insurance and I don't know what to do. I have a 10k on Saturday in downtown Chicago. My goal was to place in every race I'm in this year and I'm worried I won't even be able to finish. Yesterday I ran seven miles and it seemed to make the situation worse. Today is a speedwork day, and I'm going to have to limp through it. The pain is so intense, that it's causing me to limp when I walk.

Any suggestions?


  • Lisah8969
    Lisah8969 Posts: 1,247 Member
    Yikes! I lose a toenail (or two...and one time even three) after every major race that I do. Mine have never been infected though...just pretty much about two weeks after the race, i notice that it has totally separated from the toe and a new nail grows. There isn't pain, but it does feel "wrong" until then. Is the nail coming off? That might end the infection. Not sure if this is even advice. Sorry. Mostly I just wanted to tell you that i feel your pain and hope it gets better.
  • amyrebtx
    amyrebtx Posts: 27 Member
    Can you call around to an urgent care place and ask them what the cash cost would be to see you? It probably needs to be lanced, or cut out. I used to get them all the time, and my son had to have a bad one cut out. It definitely needs to be checked out if you are limping from the pain. You don't want to risk an infection spreading to your bloodstream.
  • 20ever
    20ever Posts: 125 Member
    Do NOT use Hydrogen Peroxide. It destroys new tissue growth aka HEALING.

    Go to for advice to treat it at home.
  • korsicash
    korsicash Posts: 770 Member
    Before you get blood poisoning you need to find an urgent care place to deal with it. Had an ingrown nail once and did nothing and ended up VERY sick!!!! Good luck!
  • BeautyisBeingU
    BeautyisBeingU Posts: 88 Member
    Try a nail salon. They were able help my wth mines and it has not return. But it was not infected.
  • itsmyvwbeetle
    itsmyvwbeetle Posts: 272 Member
    Have you dug out the ingrown part? With me, if I pick at the ingrown part and get it out then the rest subsides on its own pretty quickly. Soaking it may help..

    Hope you feel better soon.
  • Courtabeth
    Courtabeth Posts: 8 Member
    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I've called an urgent care center but simply can not afford to go (cheapest I've found is 200 for a visit and that's before any sort of procedure is even done.)

    I didn't know that about hydrogen peroxide..........should I use salt water, instead?
  • samblanken
    samblanken Posts: 369 Member
    Urgent Care. Way cheaper and faster then ER, which is where you may find yourself if you don't get it taken care of.
  • FemininGuns
    FemininGuns Posts: 605 Member
    What worked for mine was soaking in Epsom salts for 20min/day... Helped it heal!
  • DaveRCF
    DaveRCF Posts: 266
    I have had the same issue and had success by applying a topical mild antibiotic cream to the infected area and then covering with a bandaid. You need to do this three times per day and it took me a week to get over it. You have to watch carefully that the infection is not spreading after you start using the ointment because if it is, you need stronger medication. Mine was a prescription but again, it wasn't too strong.
  • nbsg1980
    nbsg1980 Posts: 7 Member
    You need an oral antibiotic. If it's not getting better with topical treatments, you're at risk for it spreading into your blood stream... (one of my family members spent a week in ICU for staph last year after letting a skin rash go untreated for too long). Thankfully, antibiotics are relatively inexpensive out of pocket, but you will have to fork over money for an office visit or clinic. If you have a Kroger near you, they have "Little Clinics" in their pharmacy departments that are very reasonable. Better to get treatment for it and pay $100-$200 now, than to let it go on and risk getting much worse and paying thousands.
  • Kerri_is_so_very
    Kerri_is_so_very Posts: 1,005 Member
    Soak in epsom salt. And I also second a nail salon if you haven't dug the toenail out yet. I would see a podiatrist if that isn't an option. The visit is pretty routine and shouldn't cost too much. And if it is really bad, you may need a script.
  • redheaddee
    redheaddee Posts: 2,005 Member
    I've had ingrowns a million times (give or take a few, lol) and I just get my cuticle nippers out, cut the corners down into the skin, and then use my fingernail or a cuticle stick (clean of course) to feel around the edge to make sure I dug it out. A bit gross yes but effective. I do use peroxide because it clears the infections so it can heal, but once there is no more foaming I just stick with neosporin. Usually all better in a few days.
  • lmarshel
    lmarshel Posts: 674 Member
    My son suffered horribly with ingrown toenails during his teens. Eventually, he had to have a procedure done to correct the problem and kill part of the nailbed. BUT, whenever he went in to the podiatrist, their first advice was always to soak 3+ times per day in hot water and Epsom salts. It will soften the skin and help with the infection. Get the water hot but not scalding, add about a 1/2 cup of Epsom salts and soak for 20-30 minutes...morning, noon and night.

    After you soak, while the skin is nice and soft, you may want to try removing the ingrown portion of the nail. It will not get any better until that ingrown part is removed.

    If you're still suffering, probably not a good idea to run on Saturday. Best of luck to you! :)
  • kayleen_longworth
    kayleen_longworth Posts: 147 Member
    Call a podiatrist (foot doctor) and see what they charge. Probably will be cheaper.
  • bakenatj
    Soak your foot in warm Epsom salt water then dig it out yourself. Might hurt a little but no worse than what the doctor will do. I personally think the anesthetic shot hurts worse than just getting it over with. You are going to be sore but should be fine.
  • WendyTerry420
    WendyTerry420 Posts: 13,274 Member
    I agree on the Epsom salts.
  • chsmith79
    chsmith79 Posts: 240 Member
    I've had them. Continue to use topical meds and, if you can get oral antibiotics into your system, that would be great. I've never dug one out myself. If you can bare the pain, then go for it. To treat them myself, When I feel one coming on, I take my toenail clippers and cut a V in the middle of my toenail. This will actually draw the nail from the outside, I never thought it would've worked, but it did. IF you can't get it out, wrap it up as best as you can and power through it.
  • BrookeBQ
    BrookeBQ Posts: 163 Member
    I had 6 nails with ingrown issues, I ended up going to a podiatrist and got surgery to permanently keep the nail sides short. It was over $1000 but I'm Canadian so it was free. All 6 nails fell off and it took over a year before they looked remotely healed.

    I'd talk to a pharmacist and ask for advice for an antibacterial over-the-counter remedy. Unfortunately this can be a big issue that does need medical care. I would not run with it like this. Also, I would not follow the advice about cutting your nail shorter, that can just make it worse when it grows back.
  • LorinaLynn
    LorinaLynn Posts: 13,248 Member
    I had surgery on mine a couple of times, and have since done the "surgery" myself before it gets to the infected stage with an exacto knife and tweezers. I wouldn't recommend it to others, though... hurts like a sonofab*tch. But mine would never get better until the offending piece of nail was removed.

    And totally agree with Epsom salt soaks. Use antibiotic ointments with caution. If you use too much, it makes it worse. Just the thinnest layer is all you need. I don't think I ever had to be on an oral antibiotic.