How To Properly Treat Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be incredibly painful. You know when you have one because suddenly you are acutely aware of your toe, whereas normally it barely registers on your radar!


Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe, and both men and women can suffer from them. They occur when the corner of your toenail curves and starts to grow in the skins surrounding it, causing significant pain, swelling and redness.


There are many things that can trigger an ingrown toenail. Some of the most common causes include:


  • The incorrect cutting of a toenail, either too short or at an angle

  • Wearing shoes that are incorrectly fitted and are too tight

  • Trauma to the toenail, such as having it stepped on or stubbing it on furniture


They are relatively easy to treat, but it is important to do it as soon as you notice. If left, they can become infected, which can even need surgical intervention. Here we look at some of the ways that you can treat an ingrown toenail.


Soak it in water

Soaking the injured foot might help relieve discomfort and minimize swelling. You can soak your foot in warm, soapy water for up to 20 minutes three times a day. Castile soap is an excellent choice for pain relief, as is adding Epsom salts.


Apply antibiotic creams

Antibiotic ointment or cream purchased over-the-counter can aid in healing and reduce the risk of the ingrown toenail getting infected.  Apply the cream to the infected toenail as directed by the manufacturer, usually three times a day.


Soak the affected toenail in apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is believed to have a significant number of health benefits and helping with the healing of an ingrown toenail is just one of them. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, both of which will help an ingrown toenail and also is said to help with the pain. There is no clear evidence to support this, but it certainly will not hurt to try. Mix a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar in a basin of water and soak for up to 20 minutes every day. Dry off carefully afterwards.


Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes and socks

Overly tight shoes and socks might crush your toes. This is thought to be one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails. Wear shoes and socks that fit well but give enough room in the toe bed to help prevent an ingrown toenail from growing or deteriorating. To relieve pressure on your toenails throughout the healing process, avoid wearing shoes or wear open sandals as much as possible.


Visit your doctor

If the above steps do not appear to be working or your ingrown toenail is showing signs of infection, make an appointment with a External link opens in new tab or windowfoot specialist. They will not, as a rule of thumb, give you oral antibiotics for an ingrown toenail with no infection, but they will if it is infected.


The majority of ingrown toenails aren't dangerous. With good home care, they should recover within a week or so without causing permanent damage. Ingrown toenails can cause excruciating pain and infection, which can progress to the bone if left untreated.