How to Remove an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is annoying and often painful. Constant walking rubs the toes against socks and shoes, causing further irritation to the ingrown toenail.  If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected and cause even more discomfort.

Medically known as Onychocryptosis, an ingrown toenail can occur to anyone, at any age, although it seems to be slightly more common in males than in females. It’s one of the most common problems a person can experience with their toes.

If an ingrown toenail is causing you grievances, it’s time to learn the best way to remove it and be comfortable again.

Natural Ingrown Toenail Treatment Remedies

ingrown toenail

There are several natural remedies to treat an ingrown toenail.

Many people prefer to try these options before purchasing OTC medications or scheduling an appointment with the doctor.

If you’d like to try a natural, at-home ingrown toenail solution, the following are among the top solutions used:

Foot Wash

Soak the affected foot in warm, soapy water to keep bacteria at bay. Add Epsom salt to the water to soften the skin. Soak the foot three or four times daily.

Essential Oils

Rubbing essential oils on the ingrown toenail is an effective way to soften and soothe the skin, minimize the pain, and hopefully draw the toenail out of the skin.

Dental Floss

Use dental floss under an ingrown toenail to help shift the nail into the correct growth direction. Ingrown toenails occur when the nail grows downward into the skin. Simply lift the edge of the nail containing the ingrown toenail and place the dental floss between it.

Castile Soap Wash

If you’re unable to soak your foot three or four times per day, use castile soap once per day instead. Use the soap with water to cleanse the nail bed using a soft washcloth.

Cutting an Ingrown Toenail

cutting ingrown toenail

If you prefer to cut the ingrown toenail,  it is best that you have someone help you or schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Cutting the ingrown toenail incorrectly could make the issue worse and increase pain.

If you choose to remove the toenail yourself, follow these steps for accuracy:

  • Soak your foot in Epsom salt or Castile soap for 30 minutes to soften the toenail. This will reduce the pain and swelling after removal.
  • Wash your hands. It is imperative that your hands are clean before you start removing an ingrown toenail.
  • Push the skin back from the nail border. This can be painful! Do not try to force the skin back further than it will go.
  • Cut the toenail straight across, starting at the toenail edges. Do not cut the toenail from the middle.
  • Place a piece of cotton between the nail and the skin to prevent it from growing back into the skin. Slightly raise the edge of the problematic toenail to make the insertion.
  • Apply a medicated ingrown toenail ointment to the affected area. Numerous ingrown toenail ointments are sold at pharmacies and online.
  • Apply a bandage to the infected toenail. Do not touch the area. The toenail area will likely be painful and swollen.
  • Change the cotton in the toenail twice per day to keep it clean and free of bacteria and germs.

Treating Your Ingrown Toenail

Carefully follow the instructions above if there is an ingrown toenail causing you grief. In a matter of a few short weeks, the issue should be resolved!  If your ingrown toenail is advanced, removing it yourself may not be impossible. Instead, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor who may recommend a surgical treatment to remove the ingrown toenail.

There are a few surgical options, including the Matrixectomy, Wedge Resection, and the Vandenbos Procedure. The doctor will determine which option is most suitable for your ingrown toenail after evaluating the specific circumstances of your case.