If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know how painful it can be. This common condition occurs when the edge or corner of your toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing redness, swelling, and tenderness. While ingrown toenails typically affect the big toe, they can occur on any toe. This article will explore home remedies, prevention, and professional help to get rid of an ingrown toenail.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

Home remedies can often be an effective natural solution to treat an ingrown toenail. Here are some simple remedies that can help:

Warm Saltwater Soaks

Soaking your foot in warm water and Epsom salt can help reduce pain and swelling associated with an ingrown toenail. Fill a basin with warm water and a few tablespoons of Epsom salt and soak your foot for 15-20 minutes at least twice a day.

Tea Tree Oil Application

Tea tree oil has natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help reduce redness and swelling associated with ingrown toenails. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly to the affected area and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

Gently Lifting the Nail with Dental Floss

If your ingrown toenail is caused by the nail growing into the surrounding skin, you can try gently lifting the edge of the nail away from the skin using a small piece of dental floss. Carefully slide the floss under the edge of the nail and lift it up and out.

When to Seek Professional Help for Ingrown Toenails

While home remedies can often be effective, there are times when medical attention is necessary to treat an ingrown toenail. Here are some signs that indicate you should see a doctor:

Signs and Symptoms of a Severe Ingrown Toenail

If your ingrown toenail is causing severe pain, redness, swelling, or pus, it’s important to seek medical attention. These symptoms can indicate an infection that may require antibiotics or drainage.

Why It’s Important to Get Medical Help

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can lead to serious complications, including infections, abscesses, and gangrene. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the nail or part of the nail bed.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails: Dos and Don’ts

Cutting Toenails Straight Across

To prevent ingrown toenails, it’s important to cut your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Don’t round the corners of your toenails, as this can encourage the nail to grow into the surrounding skin.

Wearing Proper-Fitting Footwear

Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks that put pressure on your toes. Shoes with a wide toe box can help prevent ingrown toenails, as they provide more room for your toes to move.

Avoiding Picking at the Toenails

Don’t pick at your toenails or try to dig out ingrown nails with sharp objects, as this can cause infection and make the problem worse.

Surgical Options for Ingrown Toenails

If your ingrown toenail is severe or keeps coming back, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove part or all of the nail. Here are some surgical options:

Nail Removal

In this procedure, the doctor numbs the toe and removes the portion of the nail that is growing into the skin. This may be necessary if the nail is infected or causing extreme pain.

Lateral Nail Fold Removal

In this procedure, the doctor removes the edge of the nail and the surrounding tissue. This may be necessary if the ingrown toenail is caused by a wide or curved nail plate.

Risks and Benefits of Each Surgical Option

While surgery can effectively treat ingrown toenails, the procedure does carry risks, including infection, bleeding, and nail regrowth. Talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of each surgical option.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can cause serious complications if left untreated. Here are some risks of untreated ingrown toenails:

Complications Associated with Infection, Abscesses, and Gangrene

If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, it can lead to abscesses or cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. In severe cases, gangrene, or tissue death can occur.

Importance of Getting Prompt Treatment

It’s important to address ingrown toenails promptly to reduce the risk of complications. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away, as these populations are at higher risk for serious complications from ingrown toenails.

Dealing with Pain from Ingrown Toenails

If you’re experiencing pain associated with an ingrown toenail, here are some strategies to manage it:

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and swelling.

Topical Analgesics

Applying a numbing cream or spray to the affected area can help reduce pain during the healing process.

Other Strategies for Managing Pain

Elevating your foot, wearing sandals, or using a toe protector can help relieve pain and pressure on the affected toe.


An ingrown toenail can be a painful and frustrating experience, but there are many home remedies, prevention tips, and surgical options available to treat this common condition. Remember, it’s important to address ingrown toenails promptly to reduce the risk of complications. If you’re experiencing severe or persistent symptoms, be sure to seek medical attention from a podiatrist or foot specialist.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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