3 Steps to Treat an Ingrown Toenail at Home and Avoid Surgery

3 Steps to Treat an Ingrown Toenail at Home and Avoid Surgery

By NeNa | Articles

Mar 13

Those who’ve ever had an ingrown toenail know how painful and unpleasant this condition can be. It develops when the edge or corner of the toenail curves, growing into the skin. It usually affects the big toe.

But, what causes this unpleasant condition which can interfere with your everyday activities, such as walking, and how to treat it?

In this article, you’ll learn how to treat an ingrown toenail naturally without the need for surgery.

Causes of Ingrown Toenail

The most common cause is trimming your toenails too short, but there are other reasons why it can develop. Here are the most common:

  • Stabbing your toe – toenail trauma
  • Wearing too tight shoes
  • Cutting toenails at an angle
  • Having curved or thick nails

How to Treat an Ingrown Toenail

Even though in most cases it requires surgery, you can try treating it to avoid a surgical procedure. In fact, the podiatrist at Chapel Hill Foot and Ankle Associates Jane Anderson, you can fix ingrown toenails quite easily.

However, this is not the case if you have vascular disease or diabetes. In such case, you should consult your doctor right away for proper treatment.

That’s because small foot problems can progress into serious ones in these people.

But, if you don’t suffer from any of these diseases, Anderson recommends several steps to treat your ingrown toenail naturally.

Step #1 – Foot Soak

Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt in a large plastic wash basin filled with warm water, and soak your feet for 20 minutes.

Do this foot soak twice a day to draw out any possible fluid trapped under your nail. What’s more, the Epsom salt can soothe an infected toenail.

Step #2 – Stick Cotton underneath the Toenail

The next step according to Anderson is sticking some cotton underneath the part of the toenail that grows into the skin, after balling it up to make it firm.

This can help lift your toenail a bit, thus allowing it to grow over the skin.


Step #3 – Apply an Ointment

After putting cotton wool underneath the nail, apply some over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to treat or prevent an infection. Next, secure it with a bandage and the healing process can now begin.

Great examples of ointment you can use are Bactroban, Polysporin, and Neosporin.

How to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail

As the podiatric medicine doctor Georgeanne Botek, DPM explains, prevention is always the best way of treatment. So, to avoid ingrown toenail, you should do the following:

  • Don’t cut them too short or unevenly at the edges/corners.
  • Always wear comfortable shoes and socks which leave the toes enough room for movement
  • Avoid toenail trauma
  • Use clean instruments and proper methods to trim your toenails
  • maintain dryness and hygiene

When to Seek Medical Treatment

As we mentioned, you should consult your doctor for the ingrown toenail if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or compromised immune system.

You should also seek medical treatment if the home treatment doesn’t help within a week, or you notice signs of infection.

Symptoms of infection include the following:

  • Persistent pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Mal-odor
  • Yellow, white, green, or purulent drainage

We hope this natural treatment will help you avoid surgery. Try it out, but if it doesn’t work make sure you visit a podiatrist.