5 Main Causes and Home Treatments for Ingrown Toenails

The hot, swollen throbbing pain of an ingrown toenail is difficult to ignore.

This sounds rather dramatic. But if you are suffering from one, it is worth any effort to learn how to fix an ingrown toenail.

Luckily, ingrown toenails are easily prevented. The corner or side of your nail cutting into the tender flesh of your toes responds well to early treatment.

Read ahead for five causes of ingrown toenails and treatments for relief.

1. Insult and Injury

Stubbing or crushing a toe can push the nail into the flesh. The result? An ingrown toenail.

Avoid accidents and wear protective footwear if necessary.

2. Incorrect Cuts

Cutting the nails too short or cutting the corners of the nail can cause the skin to thicken and grow over the nail.

Don’t give in to temptation! Let your nails grow to the end of the toe and cut straight across.

3. Tiny Toe Boxes

People with too-tight or pointed toe shoes are especially vulnerable.

Tight shoes and socks compress the toes and force the nail into the flesh. Add this to thick or curved toenails and you have an ouch!

Wear correctly sized footwear with ample room at the toes. Open toes, square or slightly rounded toes are best for your feet.

4. Blame Your Parents

Most ingrown toenails are a result of heredity.

The curvature and thickness of your nails are inherited, just like you inherit your father’s eyes or your mother’s smile. Some people are just pre-disposed to ingrown toenails.

How to fix an ingrown toenail isn’t as important as preventing your curved nails from digging painfully into the skin in the first place.

5. Fungus, Bacteria and Your Feet

An infection can cause your nails to become thick and tough. It can weaken the skin and, worst of all, take your ingrown toenail from a minor annoyance to excruciating.

A quick rinse in the shower is rarely enough. Give your feet a daily scrub, change your socks and alternate shoes, and keep your feet dry.

How to Fix an Ingrown Toenail

Despite your best efforts, you have a painful ingrown toenail. Here’s how to fix it.

1. Soak Your Feet

A soak with Epsom salts is recommended. Alternating hot and cold soaks will relieve the inflammation and pain.

Use one gallon of hot water (100F-110F, but no hotter) and 1/2 cup Epsom salt to make the hot soak. In another container, put cold water. Soak your toes in the hot water for 3-5 minutes, alternating with the cold.

Repeat 3 times. Do this at least twice a day. Soaking will also soften the tough nails and skin for the next step.

2. Give It Some Space

If possible, skip shoes altogether while they heal.

Especially if it is painful, avoiding compression altogether will help bring relief.

3. Prop Up the Corners

Lift the nail from the toe. Place a bit of cotton or waxed dental floss under the corners of the nail to lift it from the foot.

Replace the prop regularly.

4. Dab On Some Antibiotic Ointment

Prevent additional infection by using a bit of antibiotic ointment. We prefer ointments that include tea tree oil or colloidal silver.

5. Seek a Professional When Needed

If you have a medical condition where an infection is dangerous or where you have circulation or nerve damage, do not try to fix your toenail on your own. Repeated infections are dangerous.

We hope these tips have been helpful and that you are quickly pain-free!

Jeremy Bowen

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