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Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

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A foot with an ingrown toenail.

Many people have experienced having an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails can become infected, causing a lot of pain. This page contains remedies for ingrown toenails.


Solutions: Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

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Tip: Orajel for Ingrown Toenail Pain

I have found that Orajel works for ingrown toenail pain. Just squeeze a line of Orajel along the cuticle and let soak for 2 or 3 minutes and the pain is gone. Its worked for me and doesn't get painful again for days.

By soonergirl from Midwest City, OK

Tip: Cure Your Ingrown Toenail

I have found an easy way to get rid of ingrown toenails of using a few simple ingredients at home, and that will give quick relief!


  • Water
  • Epsom Salt
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Chili Powder
  • Bandaids


  1. Fill a container or tub with water, making it as hot as you will be able to stand.
  2. While the water is still running, pour Epsom salt in until the water appears cloudy.
  3. Soak the infected foot in this water until the water is no longer warm.
  4. Once you remove your foot, make sure to dry it thoroughly.
  5. The skin should be very soft, so attempt to pull the infected skin away from the nail a little bit.
  6. Then, using the rubbing alcohol (or alcohol cloths if you prefer), cleanse the infected area and try to clean as deep down as you can.
  7. Now that the area is clean, pour a tablespoon of chili powder into a bowl and add just a couple of drops of water to form a chili paste.
  8. Apply the paste to the infected area and get it as deep down in there as you can. (Chili powder draws out the infection!).
  9. Leave the paste on there and wrap a bandaid around your toe. Leave it on over night and repeat the process each day until it has healed.

By texasgirl08 [1]

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Here are questions related to Remedies for Ingrown Toenails.

Question: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I need some help! I have had an ingrown toenail for two years. It has been infected for almost the whole time. I would say it has swollen to about 2 cm in diameter. It hurts like the dickens when I run. I have taken it to a nail salon and it'll work for two months then will comeback. I need a monthly routine to help fix my toe. Please help! I am interested preferably in home remedies.

By Mandy


Best Answers

By Mel01/01/2011

Painless remedy, it's true. Having just recovered from an ingrown toenail. I have some great information for anyone suffering from this painful problem. First, my toenail on my left foot (Big Toe) was the problem. The nail was growing into the toe because I did not properly cut the toenail. By the time I "dealt" with it, the pain was incredible and I could not walk or bump it in anyway without incredible pain. I read on the internet about someone who went to Walmart and purchased some medication that really helped them. I wasn't sure if it would work for me, but needed to try. At Walmart, I found Dr. Scholl's Ingrown Toenail Pain Reliever ($9).

I began treatment and within one and a half days. I was able to cut the nail at a slight angle and pull it out of my toe, painlessly! The first day, the pain was still there, but kept the treatment going (twice a day application). The medication has a numbing medication that not only numbs the area but softens the nail enough so that when you pull it out of your toe, no pain. It was amazing.

Having just been in incredible pain and then to have it gone so quick was great.

Special Note:
Make sure you soak the foot first in warm water and Betadine ($12) to help cleanse and disinfect the area. Dry thoroughly and then apply the medication according to the instructions on the box.

I also bought some diabetes medical socks that helped to relieve the pressure of normal socks during the first day ($6). Everything you can get is at Walmart. I am on my third day after treatment and my toe is a little sore, as it was infected, but the medication is still working it's magic on the area for pain, so the pain is so minimal. Try it.

Many, many thanks to the person who posted the Walmart medication idea that led me to this incredible remedy! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it!

Best Answers

By Pam Griffis [10]11/18/2010

My husband recently had an ingrown toenail that kept coming back. (He got his from stubbing his big toe one night. He actually fractured it.) The podiatrist had to kill the nail bed in that area. A little painful but a quick, permanent fix. You really need to see one, for they will also give you a script for an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Infections can spread and become life threatening. (I lost the bone in the tip of my thumb due to an infection.) Once you've gotten rid of the ingrown, be sure to trim your nails straight across and don't cut them too short. Make sure your shoes aren't too tight in the toe area.

Best Answers

By Cindy [3]11/15/2010

First, there is a HUGE difference between an ingrown toenail and an INFECTED ingrown toenail. The former is often inherited and usually only bothersome with the potential to become infected, while the latter is health or life threatening.

Second, you need to visit a doctor to verify the difference who can, if necessary, offer some type of antibiotic prescription to tackle an infection. I've read of many claiming that they can do home remedy infections, but if you've not been able to do so in over two years, you are WAY overdue in consulting a medical professional in person.

I'm a big fan of home remedies - and learned many from my father who was a Registered Pharmacist - but there are times when we need the help of modern science and medicine.

If you find out that it is not infected, a home remedy that helps to relieve the pressure of the nail and train it to grow more "normally" is really quite simple. It ain't pretty at first, but it has helped my genetically given, non infected, ingrown big toenails look and feel better with time.

Clip a tiny "V" shape in the middle of the toenail above "the quick" i.e.; don't cut into the skin. This allows the nail an opportunity to grow towards the center, rather than towards the edges, and helps relieve the pressure in the process.

Good luck, but please don't continue to let an infection go untreated.

Question: Keeping Cotton Gauze Under Ingrown Toenail

I have been putting a very small piece of cotton under an ingrown toenail, but it keeps coming out.
Any tricks to keeping it there?

By Donna

Most Recent Answer

By Grandmama [3]01/15/2013

I don't have much experience with ingrown toenails. Doctor told me to let them grow out, then cut straight across. That way it doesn't have a chance to ingrow.
Cotton is a fiberous material and tends to stay together. Make sure you have separated it completely by using tiny tiny pieces. Plus keeping it covered like the other response is an excellent way to keep it where it belongs. All the ideas I saw were good. Just adapt whatever works for you best.

Question: Relief from the Pain of Ingrown Toenails

What can I do to get relief from the pressure and pain of my ingrown toenail?

By Susan K.

Most Recent Answer

By Lizzyanny [9]01/11/2015

There is an over the counter product that relieves the pain. it is called Dr. Scholls Ingrown Toenail pain reliever. I have used it and it works well.

Question: Infected Ingrown Toenail

I have this infected ingrown toenail for almost a month. I can barely walk or wear closed toe shoes. When it gets hit it hurts like crazy. I think the nail is growing underneath, but can't get the nail out, so that I can put a cotton under it. What can I do about it? I don't want a nail surgery either.

By Emily

Most Recent Answer

By Merv11/19/2014

I saw a doctor 30 years ago. He told me to strike a match and let it burn then blow it out. Then remove the black stuff between your fingers revealing now a pointed spear. Poke some cotton wool under the nail using this match. The next day apply more cotton, and so on until the nail gradually starts to rise. A week should do it. Don't remove the previous cotton, just keep applying more. Eventually it will rise enough to cut and remove.

Question: Home Remedy for Ingrown Toenail

I had an ingrown toe nail. Then went to my pcp she gave me antibiotics like cephalaxin for ten days. As it did not heal, she gave me augmentin. As I am pregnant and in my second trimester I don't want a nail surgery. Now the pain has gone, but there is swelling in the edge, and it pains if I touch the part. Kindly help.

By Sairam

Most Recent Answer

By Clarice Danialle M.09/22/2013

Cut a V in the middle of the toenail. Lift the outside corners and put a tiny bit of cotton under the nail on both sides. By cutting the V in the nail it will grow inwardly instead of out at the corners. When the V has grown out enough trim your nail straight across, never rounded on the corners.

Question: Remedy for Ingrown Toenails

What do you do to get rid of an ingrown toenail? I don't want to go to the doctor as I know it will be expensive.

By Jeanette B.

Most Recent Answer

By anak [3]07/23/2011

This is an addition to the good advice given by "Poor But Proud" (lifting the ingrown part) but instead of cutting straight, cut with a "V" shape in the middle. Nails have the tendency to grow towards the empty area. Thsi was advice from my doctor years ago and has worked well for me and friends.

Question: Treating an Ingrown Toenail

Ok, well to start I had an ingrown toenail for about 2-3 months maybe 4 and I went to the doctor and they told me to soak my foot in Epsom salt and warm water and she gave me pills. I did that, but I still have an ingrown toe nail. I have been looking for a cure that really works. I have gotten upset I can't wear just socks without a bandage. Please tell me the fastest way possible.

By Reese

Most Recent Answer

By Kinga D.12/06/2014

This worked for me - cut a v with toenail clippers in the centre of your toenail. Does not have to be deep, just a little v will do it also put a bit of cotton ball underneath the place where the toenail is ingrown. Advise given to me by a surgeon.

Question: Treating an Infected Ingrown Toenail

If I put curry powder, alcohol, or water on my ingrown toenail with a Band Aid will it draw out the infection? I am getting it out soon, just need help.

By Anna

Most Recent Answer

By Lizzyanny [9]05/01/2014

Try soaking it in a container of warm water with a cup of Epsom Salts in it. That will draw the infection. Curry etc. sounds like torture. Unless you need a bandage for comfort it is better to expose the toe to the air. Maybe you could wear a sandal or slipper. Soak it like this three times a day. If the infection isn't gone in 2 days see a Dr. Infection can travel and affect your whole body. Then you are in trouble. You can get drops at a drug store that toughen the skin and really help with the pain. I cant remember the name, but they work and have been around a long time. They are just for pain and irritation though, not the infection. Good luck!

Question: Remedy for an Ingrown Toenail

I've had an ingrown toenail for 3 yrs. How can I get relief from it?

By Pankti

Most Recent Answer

By Julia T.06/15/2013

Not something to mess with. Chiropodist your best bet. Most GPs will arrange.

Question: Remedy for Ingrown Toenail

I am looking for a remedy for an ingrown toenail. Can't I just cut the toe off and be done with it?

By John from St. Louis, MO

Most Recent Answer

By Sheilah Link [5]10/22/2012

After your bath or shower when the nail is still soft, put a tiny piece of cotton under the ingrown part. Don't use too much the first time. This will hold the nail up as it dries. You must keep doing this until the nail is above the side of the toe. It is surprising how little cotton it will take to bring comfort, but it may take a couple of applications until the nail is high enough and you will have to do is periodically to keep the nail from ingrowing again. Hope this helps.


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I recently got an ingrown toenail. It's not pussing, its just swollen, sore and red. What should I do? I'm soaking it often, and know that I might have to go to the doctor, but I'm not sure if I could do anything before hand. Thanks,


Ingrown Toenail Remedy

Before you go to bed, put a small wedge of lemon on the toenail, securing it with a band-aid and put on a sock! When you wake up, the nail should be soft enough to ease it away from the skin so that you can trim it. By MrsMoted2 (05/17/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I'm thinking that putting any moist item on the nail would give the same result, maybe even a small "wad" of dampened tissue. (05/17/2005)

By Katie A.

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Use Vicks Vapor Rub to soften the nail. (05/17/2005)


RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I've heard that if you cut a small v-shaped notch in the top middle of the nail, it causes the sides to move inwards. Worth a shot! (05/18/2005)

By Cathy

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

My Mother-in-law swears by her old Native trick and it works believe it or not! Take a small piece of bread and soak it in milk, wrap it over your toe and cover with a sock. Do this overnight and your in-grown nail will be ready to clip with no pain! (05/18/2005)

By Julie

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Are you soaking it in Epsom Salts? That's certainly not the only thing you can use. Make sure the water stays comfortably hot, with either Epsom salts, Betadine, rubbing alcohol, even Borax (20 Mule Team). Soak More. Even though it isn't showing puss yet, use hydrogen peroxide after you're done soaking. Put Betadine on it to keep germs away, then soak it some more. When it's so soft you can maneuver it easily use your pedicure tools to sort of undo. Sometimes you can remove the extra tissue that's there yourself, but only if it's very pliable after soaking in hot water for a very long time. ARDIS (06/18/2005)

By ardis barnes

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Use a cuticle stick to stuff some cotton under the nail. It will hurt, but will lift the nail away from the skin it's digging into. Two days later, it should be feeling wonderful again. Afterward, don't cut that nail so short again or cut it in a bit of a "U" shape so that the edges of the nail won't be ingrown again as they'll stay longer. (06/19/2005)

By beanygurl

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I notched the middle of the whole nail and never had a problem since- Cathy (06/19/2005)

By gumbysue

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

This is a sure thing. I have done it many times and it always works. Get some Turpentine Oil. You can get it at the drug store and with a Q-Tip put some on the ingrown toenail several times a day. The next day you will be surprised how it has taken the soreness out. I would never use anything else. Hope this helps you. Thanks Barb (06/19/2005)

By Barbara N

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

This is one I deal with frequently. My right toenail is ingrown because of nail thickness. My left toenail is ingrown from a past injury, it grows in that way. I can fix the right (for months) and the left one I only fix temporarily. Thought the initial "treatment" is painful, relief can be found.

As others posted in various ways, the first step is to clean the area and disinfect it (reducing the swelling). The next step, as others suggested is to find a way to soften the nail as to make it more pliable. Methods of "raising" the nail that I've used:

  • Prying underneath the nail with tweezers. In order not to bruise the tissue, do this gradually over a few days--first soaking and then prying. Be genlte!
  • Using dental floss to "grab" at the nail (this is much more gentle and effective. However, it can cut into the nail or break it entirely.


Prop the nail by inserting cotton underneath the corner of the ingrown toenail. This is awkward but very relieving. Once you "raise" a nail, you will notice relief from the pressure immediately (unless the infection is still rampant). By then the concept of the cotton will overcome its awkwardness.

Always cut away dead skin around the nail area. The buildup of dead skins encourages ingrown nails. Never, never trim your nails short. Cut only STRAIGHT across. I always leave my nails a little long for necessary treatments. More nail means more leverage when pulling up the nail. Soak and treat frequently to avoid further problems. Take care of your feet and they'll take care of you Happy pedicuring! (08/18/2005)

By bon

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Whatever you do, says podiatrist Glenn Copeland, D.P.M., of Women's College Hospital in Toronto, don't fall for that old wives' tale about cutting a V-shaped wedge out of the center of the nail. "People think that an ingrown nail is too big and that if you take a wedge from the middle, the sides will grow toward the center and away from the ingrown edge. That's utter nonsense. All nails grow from back to front only."(quote)(/quote) (08/01/2006)

By Shane

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

If it gets worse,the easiest thing to do is just get the surgery, it will hurt, but it isn't NEARLY as bad as it seems. I had my whole nail removed. (12/07/2006)


RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Try baby powder! It works because it draws out moisture and infection fast. (01/02/2007)

By bill.

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Sanding down the toenail until its very thin will assist in getting that ingrown section out. Apply Icy Hot to the ingrown section as well as any swollen section. Within 10 min the pain will cease. Soak in Epsom Salt in hot water for about 30 min. (03/06/2007)

By Rey M.

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

Just have the surgery, it is as simple as that. Not only does the surgery remove the ingrown part, but it also stops it from happening again for like another 50 years. I had the surgery and it is nowhere near as painful as just fixing it yourself. P.S. If there is a small growth next to the ingrown nail, then you need the surgery. That growth is a benign tumor formed by the infection. (05/28/2008)

By B.

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

My great-grandmother taught me to file the ridge of the toenail a bit each time you trim your nails. This causes the nail to grow towards the center, thus keeping it from growing into your flesh. Give it a try. (07/13/2008)

By Jeremy

RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

This wasn't true for me. Once I had the surgery I got it again like 4 months later. I've had the surgery 3 times, it hurts to cut it off. (09/15/2008)


RE: Remedies for an Ingrown Toenail

I have had an ingrown toenail now for about 3 or 4 years. I have just adapted to live my live with it. Like many others I don't want the surgery because I am scared of it coming back. I did my research and apparently if you leave them for long enough then they will eventually go away themselves, BUT you have to keep them clean or they will get infected. One way to keep them clean is to bathe them in warm water with tea tree oil added. So I did this and hey presto my ingrown toe nail has gone (not completely, but still better than it was). So I suggest that you try it. (10/22/2008)

By john s