How to Fix Ingrown Toenails

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Ingrown toenails suck. They’re painful. They are not easy to fix quickly. And did I mention they’re painful? But once you get one, you know you have to do something about it. Most ingrown nails occur with toenails and usually it’s with the big toe. So if the ingrown toenail is bad enough, it will hurt when you walk or put any significant pressure on the toe.

So what is an ingrown toenail? If you’re never experienced this kind of pain, you’ve probably never had one. Basically, an ingrown toenail occurs when the corners of the nail curve and grow into the skin. If left untreated, it could cause infection and most definitely pain. Imagine a hard nail driving into your skin all day long and every time you put pressure on the nail it drives it into the skin even more. Ouch! So what causes ingrown toenails in the first place?

What Causes Ingrown Toenails:

There are several reasons. One reason is of course genetics. Your genes told your toenail to be too big. Or maybe your genes make your toenails unusually curved…thanks mom and dad! Then, there’s trauma. Toe stubbing can create injury to the nail and cause it to grow back differently. Or it’s possible to hurt your toenail so bad that it got black and blue and eventually fell off. When the new toenail grows back it can grow back differently from before. But the most common cause is wearing shoes that are too tight or cutting the toenails incorrectly. What causes ingrown toenails can be a variety of factors where some are in your control.


How to Fix Ingrown Toenails:

There are several home remedies for ingrown toenails. But if none of these work, it may be time to get in touch with a specialist like a podiatrist to remove it for you. Fixing an ingrown toenail will require some patience as well as active management on your part. Here are some things you can try.

How to Fix Ingrown Toenails - Foot Soak-First off, try soaking the ingrown nail in warm water for 15-20 minutes at least 3-4 times a day. This will reduce the swelling and pain. You can also try adding Epsom salt, tea tree oil or vinegar. Epsom salt can help reduce discomfort and loosen the skin away from the nail. Tea tree has disinfecting properties while vinegar has anti-fungal properties.

-Then try using a small piece of cotton or some dental floss and place it under the corner of the nail in order to lift the nail away from the skin and help it grow above the skin rather than into the skin. You can use a tweezer to help you if you find it difficult to achieve.

-Since the redness and swelling could lead to an infection, be sure to use an antibiotic ointment or cream on the area to kill the germs. Keep the toe bandaged. If it is already infected, you will need to get antibiotics from your doctor. One way to tell if it’s infected is if you see pus. Yuck. Don’t let your ingrown nail get this far!

How to Fix Ingrown Toenails - Open Toed Shoes-Proper shoes are one of the main culprits of ingrown toenails so this one is very important. Wearing open-toed shoes that do not restrict the toes are preferable. This means avoiding high heels or pointed toed shoes. Also, wear the correct shoe size. Any shoes that crowd your toes will put extra pressure on the skin against the nail. Give your toes some breathing space!

-Since ingrown nails can be painful while you are trying to fix it, be sure to take some pain relievers if necessary. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) are all good choices for temporary relief. Remember, pain relievers don’t actually get rid of the problem but they will help you get through it as you treat the nail.

-Improper nail cutting is also a culprit. Instead of cutting the nails at the corners, cut nails straight across. When nails are cut at the corners, it encourages them to grow into the skin. This is exactly what you do NOT want. When you cut the nails straight across you are training them to grow straight and not curve inward. Use a nail clipper with a straight edge or if you have thick nails, use a nail nipper that helps to cut the nail straight across. It is also possible that you are cutting your nails too short. When they are cut too short, the pressure from shoes could cause the nail to grow into the skin. So let the nail grow out to the edge of the toe.

How to Fix Ingrown Toenails - Seki Edge Satin Straight Clipper SS-108
Seki Edge Satin Straight Clipper SS-108
How to Fix Ingrown Toenails - Seki Edge Ingrown Nail Nipper SS-203
Seki Edge Ingrown Nail Nipper SS-203

One nail clipper that has a straight edge is the Seki Edge Satin Straight Clipper is a nail clipper. It has sharp cutting edges so you can cut straight across with clean cuts. For thick toenails, try the Seki Edge Ingrown Toenail Nipper to make small cuts across the top edge of the nail. Where most nail nipper jaws curve inward, these jaws curve outward so you’ll never end up cutting into the nail corners. Be sure to disinfect the nail tools with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before using so you don’t inadvertently cause an infection.

-Avoid any kind of high impact exercise that could aggravate the nail. Running and jumping will only make you feel it more. If you are feeling pain already, you probably don’t want to do this anyway, but it is always worth mentioning.

-Lastly, eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. You need proper nutrition for your body to fight off any infection and encourage healing. Also, avoid smoking.

With these suggestions on how to fix ingrown toenails, at least one or more should be helpful. It will take some time to relieve the issue, but with careful attention and management you should be able to at least get some relief. Home remedies for ingrown toenails are always the first step, but if none of these help, it’s time to see a professional.


JATAI provides innovative and professional quality beauty implements with world-class customer service and educational support. To offer great products as a master distributor, we seek out and select only manufacturers who demonstrate superior workmanship, the most advanced technology, and respected business core values of reliability, honesty and integrity. Accordingly, JATAI represents three major ‘workhorse’ brands that dominate within their categories. Feather, Seki Edge and Fuji Paper. JATAI Academy brings beauty tools to creative life. It’s the ultimate professional information resource where Education, Artistry and Trends CONNECT for Stylists and Barbers.

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