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.
By Mandy 1
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.
November 15, 2010Best Answer
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.
November 18, 2010Best Answer
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.
January 1, 2011Best Answer
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.
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!
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
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?
January 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.
By Susan K. 1
What can I do to get relief from the pressure and pain of my ingrown toenail?
By Susan K.
January 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.
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.
November 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.
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.
September 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.
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!
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.
July 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.
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.
December 6, 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.
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.
May 1, 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!
I've had an ingrown toenail for 3 yrs. How can I get relief from it?
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
October 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.
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,
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)
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.
Use Vicks Vapor Rub to soften the nail. (05/17/2005)
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)
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)
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
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)
I notched the middle of the whole nail and never had a problem since- Cathy
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
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:
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
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)
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)
Try baby powder! It works because it draws out moisture and infection fast. (01/02/2007)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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
How do I get rid of my ingrown toenail at home? I have it on both big toes and on both edges. Help me!
Maxine from Sydney
Make a paste out of alum and pack it around the nail. It will make the skin around the nail shrink and release the nail. (11/05/2008)
I have this same problem. I always have ingrowns no matter what shoes I wear or how I trim my nails - I just have a problem with my nails. The first thing: Do not cut it out. For months I let them cut the ingrown nail out at the nail salon and they were only getting worse. My toes were swollen and pussy.
When I went to the doctor because it was so bad he explained that when you cut it out you are still leaving it there whether you realize it or not and it is not healing on its own. He told me to let it grow out. It takes about 2 or 3 months. I was supposed to soak every day in Epsom salts for at least 10 minutes. Then put on Neosporin. I also was supposed to be careful about trimming my nails.
He said not to cut them so often and not to bother with cutting the corners on angle, that does not help. He also said not to stick anything under the nails because it will just be more painful. The Vicks does not work. I think you are just wasting your time with most of the above. This is a serious issue - you walk on your feet every day. Give them the care they deserve! Since I have been doing this the amount of ingrowns I have has gone majorly down.
In the last year I have had only 2. Last year when I went to the doctor - in one visit I had over 3. Major change. If you really want to file your nails down nicely there is a Ingrown nail file by Sally Hansen. I have tried it and it does work. You just have to be careful and not push it. Good luck. (11/06/2008)
I used to have ingrown toenails all the time when I was a child, as did my sister. We soaked our toes every night and stuffed cotton under the nail. They were always very sore.
The last time I had an ingrown toenail, I had that part of the toenail removed by a doctor and it has not grown back. One of the things I now do is to make sure that I cut my toenails straight across. Absolutely, under no circumstance do you angle the nail into the skin.
Be sure to wear shoes that are wide enough at the toes so that they are not cramped into each other.
Sometimes an ingrown toenail is caused actually from the nail having a sort of "hook" into the skin at the sides of the nail (further back on the toe) rather than getting caught in the skin at the end of the toe. Hence the reason to make sure your toes have enough room in your shoes. (11/07/2008)
Look for a product called OUTGROW. It works to take the pain away and then let them grow to where you can trim the the right way. (11/09/2008)
I have literally found the cure for ingrown toenails. Place sterile cotton (soaked in peroxide) under your toenail. It does not hurt at all. Change daily and it will be fine on the 3-4 day. Worked wonderfully for mine which was oozing (gross!) and swollen and a purplish-red color.
Some people say roll it up into a thread but it didn't work for me because it was too late, but this did! Also putting lemon juice works well. (11/22/2008)
An ingrown nail is just an infection of the skin at the nail (look up Paronychia). It may be caused by the nail damaging the skin, but it's just a bacterial infection. Keep the toe cleaned 2-4 times a day with anti-bacterial soap and water, removing any puss or scabs that have formed, clean or scrape under the nail, too. Coat the infected area with triple antibiotic ointment - including under the nail. Pack the toenail up with piece of cotton or a small piece of rolled up white tissue - coat nail and packing with ointment again.
Take three to four L-Lysine tablets every 8 hours until the swelling/infection is gone. L-Lysine can be found "over the counter" where the vitamins are kept, it helps promote healing.
I suffered with ingrown nails for years until I started this routine. The skin healed and the problem never re-occurred. Stay away from semi-sweet chocolate chips, my infections always seemed to linked to them. No matter what the Dr. above says, trimming a "V" in the toenail does help prevent an ingrown nail infection. It keeps pressure off the center of the nail from shoes etc, and keeps the corners of the nail from digging in and damaging the skin.
Allow the toe nail to grow out over the skin in the corners. Don't trim back the corners. Re-start treatment at any sign of swelling/soreness. (11/25/2008)
Tea Tree Oil, melaleuca, is great for keeping an infection down. Also, soaking your toes in epsom and betadine is helpful. Sometimes the ingrown nail is just the edge of the nail cutting into the skin and sometimes its a jagged point broken and poking at the skin. Sometimes you can dig the point out and sometimes it will heal and sometimes it perpetuates the problem. If you damage the skin pulling out the jagged edge it starts a problem that seems to never go away. Healing the infection may be the answer to healing the problem. I hate these darn things. (12/02/2008)
I need some major help. I have an ingrown toenail that seems to be too far grown into the side of my toe. There is a noticeable bump on the side of my toe that hurts really bad. All methods that I have seen posted do not seem to be working.
Is there anything that I might be able to try from home without going to the Emergency Room and having them dig the toenail out? I have been there once and it was expensive with insurance and I currently do not have that. Thanks.
Zachary from Los Angeles
Best go see a podiatrist. I was married to one, and they are the only medical practitioner who seems to know how to take care of them. Sometimes they will extract the entire edge, if the the ingrowing is chronic (which occurs if the nail has become deformed, or the flesh is chronically inflamed). That should take care of it permanently. The toenail will look perfectly normal unless the proud flesh has created a permanent bump. In any case, it's a whole lot better than recurring suffering. That can become desperately painful. I know. Sometimes all they have to do is create a groove which the growing toenail then follows. They might do this by packing the edge with a bit of cotton until the nail grows out.
But if the nail has a fungal infection, it needs to be treated with an antifungal. Believe it or not, Vicks VapoRub has become the (home) remedy of choice for fungus nails. See Dr. Gott's column.
I myself have to occasionally treat a stubborn deformed nail, and I have found that an infection can be treated with a Domeboro soaks, and Vicks dressings. But you have to be sure that you get the offending nail "spike" that is penetrating the flesh out of the way. If you can't get to it yourself, then be sure to see a podiatrist.
I follow with the Domeboro soaks. The directions on the package say to throw out the soak solution, but we never did, and one can use it over and over again until the problem clears. (I have even taken a wash basin with me in the car to put my foot in while traveling.) Domeboro solution is a wonderful treatment to have at home for any kinds of infected skin, either wet dressings or soaking. It just draws out the infection. (01/16/2009)
I believe the product called OutGrow is now called NailCain. It works fantastically. (01/16/2009)
Get rid of the problem once and for all and you will never have to think about a remedy again. See a podiatrist that is willing to remove both sides of the toenail(a very narrow piece on each side). This is done with a laser in the Dr's office. Your nail will look a little bit narrower, but you can hardly even notice. Do not let the doctor remove the toenail. This hurts like crazy, and it will grow back. You will probably have more ingrown toenails and here you go again with the same old problem. Only do it if they are willing to do the laser and can assure you that it is a permanent fix.
My Dr. said there is only a very slim chance that it would grow into the side of my toe again, but if it did he would redo it for me. It never has caused me a problem. Anything else you do is not worth the pain, but this is. Get both feet done at the same time if you even think there is a possibility it will happen to the toe on the other foot. I had it done about 10 years ago and could kick myself for suffering off and on for all those years. Yes, many of these remedies are good, but only temporary. This is one of the best things I have done for myself. You will not regret it. (08/03/2009)
By Tiny Tina
What can I do at home for ingrown toenails?
By Martha from Cleburne, TX
Cut a small pie shaped section in the middle of the toenail. The nail will pull out from the sides to grow the nail back as it was. It worked for my husband. (10/22/2009)
Cutting a V may work (this worked for me). As painful as it may be, you want to have an edge of a matchbook (or similar cardboard) under the ingrown nail. Put the foot in semi-hot water and after, use a nail file to raise the nail a little bit, enough to slide the edge of cardboard between the nail and the skin. It doesn't have to go far, just enough to keep the nail from cutting into the skin. Take away the nail file, leave the cardboard, pamper the foot and soak it with some Epsom salts in the water a couple times a day if you can. The cardboard keeps the nail from cutting into the skin. It worked, and I am very careful when cutting my nails, not. That was so painful. (11/03/2009)
What home remedy can I use to get rid of an ingrown toe nail?
By Charmane from Oxon Hill, MD
First, soak your foot/toe in warm to hot water. Take a matchbook cover and tear the corner off. Pry the ingrown corner up a little (and this may/will hurt a bit, that's why you soak it first). Put the edge of the matchbook cover under the pried up toe part. Don't take it off for 2-4 days. This has worked for me. Also, I am really careful about trimming my nails, now. (12/19/2009)
Hydrogen Peroxide is a great way to clean things out. Then, soak it in hot salt water, to draw out any infections. And yes, a small toothpick end, or rolled up TP or cardboard is good as long as it keeps its shape and strength. Don't get it wet.
You can get something at the drug or department stores called "finger cots". It's basically little latex (beware of any allergies) fingertips that you roll down over an injured finger. The ones designed for the thumbs would work and on down to pinky size depending on what toe is infected.
Once it grows out some, keep the peroxide in it and pack it with salt when you can, after getting the toe area wet.
They are hard to get rid of, but keeping them cut straight across like the doc says will help.
Also Google the care you need and see if we are close to the mark. (12/20/2009)
I go right up to our local Knails place and have a pedicure done. She always gets mine out and for $15 it is worth it to me. (12/20/2009)
By Paula Jo
How can I stop ingrown toenails?
By Linda from Eden, NC
I don't know how to get rid of them once you have them (except going to a doctor). But I do know how to not get them in the first place. A doctor told me to cut my toenails so they are straight and not rounded at the ends. This little bit of extra toenail on the ends of the nail keeps the nail from getting ingrown under the skin. Ever since I started cutting my toenails straight to keep the ends a bit longer I have never had another ingrown nail! (03/18/2010)
Here's what to do: take something to lift the ingrown nail corner ever so slightly. I use a metal file and then under your nail insert a small piece if cotton ball. If you cannot stand it, you have used too much cotton. When you get it so you can stand it, allow your toenail to grow out and away from your flesh. This may take some weeks. If this doesn't help you may need surgery. The toe boxes of your shoes are too narrow or short. Feel for your toes in your shoes, if your toes touch anything they're wrong.