Infected toe treatment

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Infected toes can be caused by a variety of triggers: fungi, open cuts or wounds on the toe, ingrown toenails, and shoes that do not fit properly, to name a few. Symptoms of infected toes include discolouration, brittleness, changes in toenail shape, and swelling around the toenail.

Fortunately, there are many ways to cure a toe infection that you can do quickly at home.

Toenail infections

Infected toes often stem from ingrown toenails; while common, the infection can be painful if left untreated. Treating an infected toe is usually simple and can usually occur at home. First, take a pair of clean nail clippers and use the file to gently remove the nail that has burrowed into your skin. Be very careful not to puncture your skin; this can cause further harm. Once you have completely removed the nail from your skin, clip off this part of the nail. Soak your foot in warm water at least three times a day for 15 minutes at a time as your toe heals.

Only try self-treatment if the nail of the infected toe is not curved very deeply into the skin. Watch the nail for two to three days; if the infection has not subsided or if it has worsened, you should seek treatment from a medical professional to avoid any further tissue damage.

Topical treatments

Antibiotic ointments go a long way as treatment for an infected toe. If you have a cut, blister or ingrown toenail, topical medicine is necessary. Apply treatment to the infected area and cover with an adhesive bandage if you must wear shoes and socks. If you can, leave the infected area open to the air to speed healing.

Several natural treatments can be used to help heal a toe infection. Tea tree oil and lavender oil have anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that you can apply to a sore spot or under an infected toenail when your feet are clean, preferably after a shower or bath. Do this twice a day. You can use lavender oil similarly. Both are effective in eliminating toenail fungus.

Epsom salt

Magnesium sulphate or Epsom salt is a natural, inexpensive way to treat a toenail fungus or infection of the toe. Fill a bathtub or a large basin with enough warm water to fully immerse your foot. Add 480 g (3/4 cup) of Epsom salt and soak your foot for at least 20 minutes. Try this procedure two times every day until the infection subsides.

Prevent infected toes

Prevention is the best way to combat toe infections. To keep an infection from starting, or to keep one from getting worse:

  1. Wear shoes that fit properly.

  2. Always wear sandals or water shoes in a public pool or shower facility.

  3. For women, do not use nail polish if your toenail is infected.

  4. Sterilise nail clippers at least once a every two months, and do not allow others to use your nail clippers.

  5. Do not wear other people's shoes or use their towels, and do not let others wear your shoes or use your towels.


If home remedies do not fight the infection or if your symptoms worsen, seek medical treatment. A doctor will be able to accurately diagnose your problem and may prescribe an antibiotic.