Ingrown toenail or unguis incarnates, medically termed as onychocryptosis is a common nail disease. The condition can be extremely uncomfortable and painful as the corner of the nail grows into either one or both sides of the nail bed. If left untreated it could even lead to infection and surgical treatment may be required. But the good news is that there are ways to treat ingrown toenails at home without a trip to a doctor. Let’s find out how to get rid of an ingrown toenail with easy and effective home remedies.

How is an ingrown nail develop? Ingrown nail develops when the edge or corner of the nail is pushed tightly against the soft skin of the nail wall. It is an extremely painful condition which is associated with inflammation, pain, swelling, and formation of pus.

how to get rid of an ingrown toenail

Although any one can get an ingrown toenail but this condition is most common in young adults. An ingrown toenail basically falls into the following categories: Mild or stage 1 that presents symptoms like pain, erythema, and swelling. Moderate or stage 2 progresses with symptoms like inflammation, infection, and formation of purulent granulomatous tissue. Severe or stage 3 progresses with chronic inflammation, granulation and nail fold hypertrophy.

What causes an ingrown toenail to develop? There are many underlying factors responsible for an ingrown nail including improper nail cutting, when the nail is clipped from the corners or sides, the growing nail instead of following its natural and usual bed, grows or cuts into the flesh or skin. Similarly, a nail clipped in a curve can also develop into an ingrown toenail.

Ill-fitting footwear, that is wearing too tight shoes or socks, is yet another common cause of ingrown toenail as wearing too tight shoes/socks press the toenail down into the skin. Likewise, women who wear high heeled shoes could also develop an ingrown toenail.

Home remedies to get rid of an ingrown nail

If you suspect any of the symptoms of an ingrown nail like pain, swelling, and redness around the affected nail, you can try these simple home remedies to get rid of an ingrown nail. Seek medical care if your symptoms persists for more than three days. If you have develop moderate or severe ingrown toenail, consult a podiatrist.

Warm water soak

Warm water soak is an effective way to treat an ingrown toenail. Soaking the foot in warm water helps in softening the area which is crucial to bring out the ingrown toenail easily. Warm water kills the bacteria, keeps the area clean and also lessen the pain, swelling and tenderness of an ingrown toenail.

How to use warm water soak to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Fill a foot tub with warm water. Soak your feet in it for at least 20 minutes. Softly pat dry afterwards. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day.

Epsom salt soak

Epsom salt, or magnesium sulphate is a common remedy to treat an ingrown toenail. Soaking the affected foot in Epsom salt soak helps softening the area so it is easier to draw out the ingrown toenail afterwards. Epsom salt helps regulate the enzymes of the body, which helps reduce inflammation, pain and swelling of an ingrown toenail. It also helps alleviate hardening of the arteries, kills the bacteria and keeps the area clean which deters infection.

How to use Epsom salt soak to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1- Fill a foot tub with warm water and add a tablespoon of Epsom salt. Stir till completely dissolved. Soak your feet in it for at least 20 minutes. Softly pat dry afterwards. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for a number of skin ailments including athlete’s foot, boils, canker sores, bruises and an ingrown toenail. Apple cider vinegar possesses natural antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that helps fight infections by killing bacteria, and reduces pain and inflammation. It also penetrates to the root of the infection which promotes fast healing.

How to use apple cider to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Fill a foot tub with warm water and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. Stir till completely dissolved. Soak your feet in the mixture for at least 20 minutes. Softly pat dry afterwards. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day.

2-Another way to use apple cider is to soak a clean cotton ball in a mixture containing equal amount of water and apple cider vinegar. Place this soaked cotton on the affected area. Cover it with a bandage and leave it for 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day.

2-You can also benefit from a cider concoction to kill bacteria and infection from the body. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and add a tablespoon of honey. Drink this mixture daily until the problem is fix.

Cotton wedge under the nail

Placing a cotton wedge under the nail not only helps reduce the pain but also help the nail to grow in the right direction instead of growing into the skin. Placing cotton wedge is a little a painful but it promotes fast healing.

How to use cotton wedge to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Soak your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes. Pat dry completely afterwards.

2-Roll a very small piece of clean cotton with fingers to form a small roll. Gently lift the corner of the nail with a sterilized tweezers. Now place the cotton roll between the nail and the skin. Repeat the procedure as needed but remember to use a new cotton roll each time to avoid infection.

Dental floss under the nail

If you think that placing cotton roll is difficult or you find it painful, there is another gentler way to treat an ingrown toenail. Dental floss works best to alleviate pain and also help the nail grow in the correct direction which help get rid of an ingrown toenail. But remember to select the unflavored dental floss to avoid burning and itching.

How to use dental floss to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Soak your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes. Pat dry completely afterwards.

2-Gently lift the corner of the nail with a sterilized tweezers. Now place the dental floss between the nail and the skin. Repeat the procedure as needed but remember to use new dental floss each time to avoid infection.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide, a common household item has diverse usages for a number of ailments including in grown toenail. Hydrogen peroxide acts as an antiseptic and kills infection causing bacteria. Peroxide also numbs the pain, swelling and discomfort associated with an ingrown toenail.

How to use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Fill a foot tub with warm water. Add 1/2cup of hydrogen peroxide in the water. Stir till completely dissolved. Soak your feet in the mixture for at least 20 minutes. Softly pat dry afterwards. Repeat the procedure once or twice a day.

2-Another way to use hydrogen peroxide is to soak a clean cotton ball in household hydrogen peroxide solution. Clean the affected area with this soaked cotton. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day.

Essential oils

Essential oils like tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus are particularly good due to the antibacterial, anti-antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. These oils help soften the area, reduce pain and inflammation and keep the area clean and bacteria free which aids in fast healing.

How to use essential oils to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Mix 2-3 drops of each tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus oil in some aloe gel (2-3 tablespoons) and coconut oil (2-3 tablespoons). Mix well and store in an air tight glass container.

2-After washing and drying your feet soak a clean cotton ball with the mixture and place on the affected toe. Cover with a bandage and leave it for 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure twice or three times a day, replacing new soaked cotton every time.

Alcohol

Using alcohol is a great way to prevent infections. Alcohol also helps reduce inflammation and promotes fast healing.

How to use alcohol to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Wash the affected area with soap and water to clean the area. Now pat dry with a soft towel.

2-Soak a clean cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and gently clean the area with it.

Vaporub

Vaporub acts as an antiseptic and kills infection causing bacteria. In addition, it reduces the pain and softens the skin to bring out the ingrown toenail later.

How to use vaporub to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Wash the affected toe with soap and water to clean the area. Now pat dry with a soft towel.

2-Apply a liberal amount of vaporub on the affected toe and underneath the toe. Cover lightly with a bandage. Leave it for an hour or so.

Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is a safe way to soften and moisturize the infected toenail so that it will bring out easily afterwards.

How to use petroleum jelly to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1- Wash the affected area with soap and water to clean. Pat dry with a soft towel.

2-Apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly on the affected toe and underneath the toe. Cover lightly with a bandage. Leave it overnight.

Potassium permanganate

To prevent the infection of an ingrown toenail, potassium permanganate can be safely used. Your feet could turn slightly tan but would be disinfect from bacteria and infections.

How to use potassium permanganate to get rid of an ingrown toenail

1-Fill a foot tub with warm water and put 0.04 potassium permanganate. Stir till completely dissolved. Soak your feet in it for at least 20 minutes. Softly pat dry afterwards. Repeat the procedure once daily until the problem is resolved.

These home remedies are suitable and effective only if you have mild or stage 1 condition of an ingrown toenail. See a podiatrist immediately if your ingrown toenail progresses with fever, infection, watery discharge with blood and pus. Also visit if you are diabetic as it could lead to some serious complications like poor blood flow and damaged nerves.

Useful tips to get rid of ingrown toenails forever

The home remedies shared in this article will help get rid of an ingrown toenail but following the tips discussed below will help get rid of the problem forever.

  • To completely avoid the problem of in grown toenails, cut the nails properly. Do not cut them in curve and cut them straight and square shaped. Trim the edges first instead of trimming the middle part.
  • Don’t cut your nails too short as it encourages the condition.
  • Wear proper fitting foot wear. Also avoid wearing high heels for a longer period of time.
  • During the course of problem, refrain from pedicure, nail paint as it can worsen and could lead to infections.
  • Keep the affected area clean by washing frequently with water and soap to stop infections.
  • Try to soak your feet in warm water regularly.
  • To promote fast healing, avoid wearing shoes or socks when at home.
  • Antibiotic creams available in markets can also be used to treat in grown toenails. After shower, apply the cream covering entire foot to stop the infection. It is also recommended to apply the cream before bed, but make sure to clean your foot with soap and water and pat dry before application.
  • It is not advisable to self-cut the ingrown toenail at home. If needed, seek medical care.

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