An ingrown toenail can create undue pain and swelling on any toe, but is most common on the big toe. The condition will not fix itself and needs your intervention. This foot ailment may be caused by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Or it could be caused when a toenail is clipped too short. When the nail is trimmed at an angle it can grow back into and under the skin, causing discomfort or pain. People all of all ages may suffer from this condition, which may be easily remedied at home. If there is no infection or you cannot make it to a doctor, try to remedy the ingrown toenail yourself.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Warm water
- Foot bath tray or the bathtub
- Nail clippers
- Witch hazel
- Epsom salt or hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment
Soak the toe and the foot in a warm bath of water and Epsom salt. If you do not have Epsom salt, mix in a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Keep the toe submerged until the skin becomes soft.
Gently rub back the skin covering the ingrown nail. Stop if it becomes painful. This may be done while the toe is still in the water. Dry the foot thoroughly.
Clipping a part of the toenail near the piece that is embedded could help alleviate the problem. Professionals recommend you see them instead, but you can remove the painful ingrown toenail piece at home if there is no infection.
Use tweezers to make a small slit in the top of the nail near the ingrown portion. Gently pull the small strip of nail if you have enough nail to do this without exposing the delicate skin under nail. Pull in the direction where the ingrown portion is. You can remove the small piece that is ingrown this way, by gently tugging it out.
Rinse the toe with witch hazel or another mild cleanser. Rub in an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage. Check on the toenail again before going to bed. Repeat the soaking if needed.
Tips and warnings
- Infection is evident by swelling, pain and pus.
- Avoid recurring ingrown toenails by cutting nails in a straight line, not a curve.
- If a child or toddler appears to be walking funny or limping, check his toes for a possible ingrown toenail.
- Diabetics should not try to remove an ingrown toenail at home, instead call the doctor.