5 Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails 

Aug 16, 2023

Ingrown toenails can be a persistent source of discomfort and pain, making each step a reminder of the issue. When a toenail’s edge grows into the adjacent soft skin, it triggers symptoms like pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness. This common foot problem, primarily affecting the big toes, affects approximately two out of every ten people who seek healthcare for foot issues, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of ingrown toenails, exploring what they are, the causes behind them, and most importantly, five effective home remedies that can provide relief. Whether you’re currently dealing with an ingrown toenail or want to be prepared for a potential future occurrence, read on to discover how to manage this discomforting issue.

What Are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails are a common condition where the corner of a toenail grows into the adjacent skin instead of over it. The hallmark symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness around the affected nail. In some cases, the area may become hot to the touch and may even release pus or fluid, indicating an infection that requires immediate medical attention.

Close up of Left Foot isolated on a white background. clipping path.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Several factors can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails:

  • Tight Shoes: The pressure exerted on toes and nails by snug footwear can force them to grow into the surrounding skin.
  • Trimming Toenails Too Short: Cutting toenails excessively short increases the likelihood of them growing into the skin.
  • Rounding Nails When Trimming: Trimming toenails in a rounded shape can easily lead to them pressing into the skin, causing ingrown toenails.
  • Trauma to the Nail: Accidental injuries such as dropping a heavy object on your toe or stubbing it can damage the toenail and make it more susceptible to growing inwards.

Is It Possible to Treat Them at Home?

Yes, it is possible to manage ingrown toenails at home, provided you avoid attempting “at-home surgery” using sharp instruments, as this can lead to complications. Instead, consider the following home remedies:

  • Soak Your Foot: Soaking your affected foot in warm, soapy water or an Epsom salt solution can alleviate pain and help soften the skin. This reduces swelling and encourages proper nail growth away from the skin.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Soak: Apple cider vinegar’s natural antiseptic properties make it a valuable home remedy. Soaking the ingrown toenail in a mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar can prevent infection and offer relief from discomfort.
  • Antiseptic Ointment: Applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to the affected area and covering it with a bandage can prevent infection and promote healthy nail growth.
  • Epsom Salt Soak: Epsom salt is particularly effective in reducing inflammation and aiding nail healing. Regularly immersing your foot in an Epsom salt solution can provide relief.
  • Wear Proper Shoes: Choosing footwear with sufficient room in the toe box can reduce pressure on your toes and minimize the risk of exacerbating the problem.

When Is It Time to Schedule an Appointment? 

While these home remedies can offer relief, there are instances where consulting our podiatrists is essential:

No Improvement in 2-3 Days or Worsening Symptoms: If your ingrown toenail shows no improvement or worsens despite home treatment, seek professional evaluation.

Severe Pain and Mobility Limitations: If the pain becomes unbearable and hampers your ability to walk, it’s time to contact our team.

Signs of Infection: If you notice pus or fluid discharge, redness, or the affected area feels warm to the touch, you likely have an infection that requires immediate medical attention.

Underlying Health Conditions: If you have diabetes, poor circulation, or other conditions that increase the risk of infection, it’s best to contact our office as soon as possible.

Young, perfect, clean female feet relaxing on bed. Closeup.

Professional Ingrown Toenail Treatment

In cases where ingrown toenails are deeply embedded or recurrent, our podiatrists may recommend a procedure known as a “nail avulsion.” This procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic into the affected area and carefully lifting or removing part or all of the toenails. The toenail typically grows back within a few months, and this procedure is considered safe, painless, and highly effective in preventing recurrence and promoting healing.

Ingrown toenails can be painful, but with the right care and home remedies, you can often find relief. Avoid attempting risky “at-home surgeries” and instead opt for safe and effective methods to manage your ingrown toenails. When in doubt or if your condition worsens, don’t hesitate to contact our office so we can provide expert guidance and treatment. Your feet will thank you for it!

Your feet are vital for your mobility and overall well-being, so taking proper care of them is crucial. While ingrown toenails can be bothersome, with a combination of self-care and professional assistance when needed, you can maintain healthy and pain-free feet!



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