Ingrown toenails can often be treated at home with DIY remedies. But for more severe or persistent cases, you may need professional treatment.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of a toenail grows into your soft flesh. big ouch. While you might be tempted to cut out this sucker, it’s definitely not a good idea. But no worry! There’s still hope for you and your poor little Tootsie.
Here are eight ingrown toenail remedies you can try at home, plus a few treatments you need to talk to a doctor about.
The 10 best ways to treat an ingrown toenail are:
- Soak in warm water
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Antibiotic ointments
- Comfortable shoes and socks
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- toe support
- Soak in hydrogen peroxide
- toe protection
- Prescription antibiotics
- Removal of the toenails
Here are the details on each.
1. Soak in warm water
Nails are made up of skin cells, so although they are hard, they can absorb moisture. Soaking your feet in warm, soapy water can help reduce swelling and pain from an ingrown toenail.
Any mild soap is a good option here. However, some people say that Epsom salt actually works better to reduce inflammation and discomfort. You can also get fancy and make a combination of bath salts and soap. Oh la la!
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Is there a lot of science to support apple cider vinegar as a remedy for ingrown toenails? no But a lot of people still swear by it. And there could be a reason!
ACV contains acetic acid, which has some pretty impressive antimicrobial properties. That means treating an infected ingrown toenail could help. Just remember that despite the craze, ACV isn’t a panacea.
If you want to try it, do the following:
- Fill a foot tub or large bowl with lukewarm water. Make sure it’s not too hot – it will dry out your skin.
- Add 1/4 cup ACV to the water.
- Soak for 20 minutes.
- Rinse with water and pat dry with a clean towel.
3. Antibiotic ointments
Over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic ointments can reduce the risk of toe infection. They can also reduce discomfort and swelling, but research suggests they may not speed up recovery time.
4. Comfortable shoes and socks
Get those crocs out, fam. It’s their time to shine.
As established by science, tight footwear is one of the main causes of ingrown toenails. Switching to comfortable socks and wide shoes can help slow the development of an existing ingrown toenail.
But your best bet? Let those babies breathe and wear sandals or open-toe shoes that won’t crush your little piggies.
5. OTC pain relievers
An OTC pain reliever can relieve discomfort and reduce swelling in most cases of mild ingrown toenails. But as anyone who has ever stubbed their toe can tell you, toes have a lot of nerves.
When OTC pain relievers aren’t enough, it might be time to talk to a doctor (more on that in a minute).
6. Toe Support
Toe clips are basically tiny shin guards for your toenails. Sweet is not it? They work by keeping the nail edges raised. This will help remove the toenail as it grows (we’ll make that a word). It also forms a protective barrier between sensitive toe skin and sharp toenail edges.
They are usually made from a thin composite material that has an adhesive side to keep them in place. However, you may want to use a gentle foot powder to help absorb moisture. After all, toes can get pretty sweaty.
7. Soak in hydrogen peroxide
An infection can turn an ingrown toenail from a nuisance to an ugh, ew, why?! Location. Hydrogen peroxide and iodine drinks can help reduce your risk.
But for your information: you should not wash your feet in pure hydrogen peroxide. Instead, dilute it with water. That’s how it’s done:
- Get a large plastic basin or foot bath.
- Combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 3 parts warm water.
- Soak your foot for up to 15 minutes.
It may sting at first, but this should subside after a minute or two. If it really hurts, take your foot out as soon as possible and run some cool water over it.
8. Toe protection
Toe protectors are available online and at some drug stores. They are soft rings that you place around an ingrown nail to create a barrier. Some also have medicinal gels with various purported benefits, such as: B. Nail softening.
Most are made of soft silicone or a similar material. Whether they actually work can vary as there are many products available and not all are designed for ingrown toenails. Definitely worth checking out some reviews before buying.
1. Prescription antibiotics
If you already have an infected ingrown toenail, your doctor may prescribe you an antibiotic. This can help ward off any microbe that’s causing you grief.
2. Removal of toenails
As a final and certainly most dramatic event, a recurring ingrown toenail – or a nail that has passed the point of no return – may need to be removed. This process is called nail pullout.
A healthcare professional will inject a local anesthetic to numb the pain. Then they remove any combination of toenail rim, nail bed, or mid growth plate. But don’t worry, it will grow back!
Healing times vary, but most people recover in 2 to 6 weeks. During this period, you need to give your toe a lot of care and avoid tight shoes and strenuous activities.
The big toe is the most prone to ingrowth, but any toenail can become ingrown.
The most common causes are:
- Cut toenails too short
- Cut toenails at an angle and let them grow
- Toenail trauma (which can happen if you drop something heavy on your toes or stub your toe – ouch! 😩)
- Shoes that do not fit properly, such as B. shoes that are too tight or very pointed
Considering how painful and prone to infection they are, it’s actually super easy to prevent ingrown toenails. Here are a few tips:
- Only use clean tools to trim your nails (Yes, you should clean your nail clippers between uses).
- Cut your toenails straight, not at an angle.
- Don’t cut them shorter than your toe.
- Wear protective footwear such as steel-toed boots when moving heavy objects.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Again, untie those laces, leaving room for the puppies to stretch.
Most ingrown toenails can be treated at home. But they can become a big (toe) problem if left unchecked. Consult a health professional if you:
- chronic throbbing pain
- severe pain or discomfort
- Skin that feels warm or is red
- a strange or foul odor emanating from your toe
- Inflammation, especially if it gets worse over a short period of time
You should also see a doctor if the ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to your home remedies.
Ingrown toenails are a common problem that can occur when a toenail grows into the skin surrounding it. Most often this happens on the big toe.
Ingrown toenails aren’t usually a big problem, but they can cause complications if left untreated. They carry a high risk of infection and may require antibiotics. If they’re too ingrown, part (or all) of the toenails may need to be surgically removed.
Many home remedies can be helpful to treat an ingrown toenail in its early stages. If you have any doubts, it is best to play it safe and consult a doctor.