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How to Decrease the Swelling With an Infected Toe

by
author image Sandra Ketcham
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."
How to Decrease the Swelling With an Infected Toe
Minor toe swelling may be treatable at home. Photo Credit toes image by Sandra Henderson from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Toe infections typically cause pain, redness, warmth and swelling and may result from a cut, injury, ingrown toenail or other problem. The swelling may be severe enough to interfere with walking and daily functioning. Depending on the cause and severity of your infection and swelling, you may require antibiotics or more aggressive treatment. Swelling associated with minor infections, however, may be treatable at home.

Step 1

Apply a cold compress to the affected toe to reduce the swelling and ease any pain. An ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a damp towel are equally effective. Do not apply ice directly to your skin, as doing so can lead to tissue damage and increased pain.

Step 2

Use warm compresses when treating swelling caused by paronychia, which is an inflammation and infection of the nail fold. According to Drugs.com, warm compresses can decrease swelling and pain when applied to the affected toe.

Step 3

Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to alleviate swelling and inflammation. Prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications are also available.

Step 4

Soak the infected toe in a tub of warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. This is especially beneficial if an infected ingrown toenail is causing your swelling. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends soaking your toe three or four times each day.

Step 5

Elevate your foot and toe when sitting and sleeping to reduce swelling and stay off your feet as much as possible. Walking on your toe can worsen swelling and delay healing.

Step 6

Use topical antibiotic ointments and other medications as directed by your doctor. KidsHealth.org states that washing the infected area with an antibacterial cleanser may be beneficial.

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