How To Remove Ingrown Toenail? 5 Pain-Relief Strategies And More!

how to remove ingrown toenail

It seems like the maneuvering of your toenail fell short of your expectations, and you’ve landed with an ingrown toenail. As you were tapering around the corners of your nail, there was a little mistake, and now that the edge of the nail has grown into the surrounding skin. No doubt, if not treated immediately, it may be excruciatingly painful; hence, we’ll give you a guide about how to remove ingrown toenail without too much of a fuss.

As you scroll down this know-how guide, you will get remedies to remove these toenails at home, the primary causes so that you can avoid them in the future, and an instance or two of what happens if things get out of hand (or toe) in this case. Here’s what you must do –

How to remove ingrown toenail at home?

removing ingrown toenail
Image Credit: Cleveland Cinic

In this section, you will get some tips for dealing with ingrown toenails at home. Apart from that, you will also get a fair idea about some OTC antibiotics that assist in the recovery process. So, without further ado –

1. Start with anti-bacterial soap and water combo 

castile soap solution for ingrown nails
Image Credit: The Spruce

This is the first strategy that you need to try. Make a soapy solution by using either any of the reputed anti-bacterial soap that you find or castile soap. Ensure that you use warm water for the solution. Soak your feet in this solution for 20-30 minutes twice a day for 15 days. You will notice a significant improvement in this period.

2. Soak your foot in Epsom salt solution

soak feet in epsom salt solution
Image Credit: Medical News Today

Epsom salt solution provides the perfect response to your query of how to remove ingrown toenail. Take a bowl of warm water (heat it only to the extent that you can soak your foot into it). Add a pinch of Epsom salt to it. Given its pain-relieving formula, this salt will amplify the healing process comparatively. Soak the affected toenail in this water for 30 minutes, thrice a day for a week to notice the marked difference.

3. Apple cider vinegar is of great help 

apple cider vinegar for ingrown toenail removal
Image Credit: Prevention

Apple cider vinegar is a must-have at your home! From the taste it brings to food to the relief it brings to foot – the benefits are unquestionable. Given its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, take 1 cup of warm water (250 ml according to US metrics) and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into it. Blend it well and soak your foot in this water for 20 minutes, twice a day, daily for a week. Once you are done soaking, pat dry your foot and wear cotton socks to protect it further.

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4. Use cotton or dental floss 

dental floss for ingrown toenails
Image Credit: Academic Life in Emergency Medicine

Wondering how to remove ingrown toenail with the help of a dental floss? We’ll show you how! Start by sanitizing the ingrown toenail with an antiseptic solution. Then, to provide that extra cushioning to your nails and push your nails into growing towards the upper side, either take waxed dental floss or some small pieces of cotton balls and place it under the ingrown nail. Though initially, your pain will amplify because of the sudden pushing of the skin, in the long run, it will provide the much-required cushioning to your ingrown toenail and reduce the healing time.

5. OTC antiseptics are of great help 

using antiseptic on ingrown toenails
Image Credit: Podexpert

If you have tried all the abovementioned techniques, then supposedly you will soon get some relief. To enhance the same, you can use OTC antiseptics and oral meds along with natural remedies.

For the uninformed, ointments that have ingredients such as – neomycin, mupirocin, and polymyxin B are of great help in bringing some relief to the issue of ingrown nails.

Apart from that, you can always take ibuprofen orally to reduce the swelling.

Some other measures you must take

Once you have tried out all these strategies, there are certain additions you must check out. If the techniques mentioned above help in relieving the swelling in your toes, then the steps mentioned below ensure that the healing process is accelerated. Here is how to do the same –

toe braces for ingrown nails
Image Credit: ActiveBeat
  • Once you are done with any of these techniques, you must rub your toe with any essential oil. It softens the skin significantly and helps to minimize the swelling comparatively. You may opt for either peppermint or lavender oil (use coconut oil with it as a carrier oil).
  • You must cushion your toe for some time until that area is healed completely. For that, you may either use a toe protector or try a toe brace.
  • Also, until completely healed, wear socks and shoes that allow your skin to breathe.

If all goes well, the ingrown nail will be healed in a matter of 2-3 weeks.

What if it gets out of control?

Normally, ingrown toenails are a medical issue that can be solved by oneself at home. However, at times, things do get out of hand – to the extent of you requiring a surgical interjection (rare case, though). How will you recognize when it is out of your hands, and how to proceed from there? This guide will give you a glimpse of the same –

consult doctor for ingrown nails
Image Credit: ActiveBeat

You will need to see a doctor if you find that –

  • The redness has amplified along with the swelling.
  • Also, if pus comes out of that affected area, then again, you need to visit a medical professional.
  • If there is a sense of warmth in the affected area as well as the surrounding areas.

Though you have read everything on how to remove ingrown toenail and tried the same, the symptoms do not seem to go away; visiting a podiatrist is the only way out. You might have to undergo a nail-bed ablation or electrocautery as per medical recommendation.

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You may relax since surgery in case of an ingrown nail is a rare occasion and happens only when things go way too out of hand. Hence, it is better that you try to prevent them at the earliest.

How to avoid them in the first place?

Assuming you have been reading this article well, you do have a fair idea about how to remove ingrown toenail at home or how to proceed in case things get a little out of hand. But there are certain measures that you can take to protect your foot in the first place. They are –

cut the nails straight to prevent ingrown nails
Image Credit: ActiveBeat
  1. You must wear comfortable shoes. The pair of shoes must not build pressure on your nails. Ensure that you wear a wide-toed footwear with a soft fabric for the base. Footwear hygiene is a must!
  2. While cutting off your toenails, remember to cut them straight. The moment you taper it or round it, that increases the chance of facing an ingrown toenail.
  3. Ensure that you use clippers that are specifically designed for this purpose. Also, these must be of the correct shape and clean (most clippers introduce bacteria into the nails, which enhances this condition).
  4. While clipping your toenail, remember not to clip it a bit too short. It must be in tandem with the length of your toe. If it is too short, then the chances of ingrowing nails increase significantly.
  5. Lastly, take care of your overall health. Underlying health issues like diabetes and deteriorating liver or kidney health enhance the chances of such issues.

Parting notes

As they always say, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, the next time you are stylishly tapering off your nails or wearing shoes that are a bit too tight for your feet – please be careful. But in case, this is your first time and you were unaware of these issues resulting in a painful ingrown toenail, you now know how to remove ingrown toenail at home and hence can apply the same. If you have any such trick up your sleeve, do share the same with us.

Want more know-how guides like these? Keep watching this space for more!


1. How to remove ingrown toenail by yourself? 

If you are looking to remove the same at home (since that is the initial step), you can always try soaking your feet in Apple cider vinegar solution or Epsom salt solution, use antiseptic cream, or even pack the area with dental floss. These are some of the ways to relieve yourself from the pain.

2. What is the fastest way to remove ingrown toenail? 

Though the abovementioned techniques work really well when it comes to removing ingrown toenails, soaking your nails in Epsom salt solution works the fastest. Along with that, when you take pain relievers, the recovery process is significantly enhanced.

3. Can you permanently get rid of it? 

Technically, this is not a medical condition that keeps returning if you practice good foot care. However, if you have any other underlying medical condition, then you may have to suffer from the same more than once. In this case, it is best to consult with a medical professional.

4. Can it go away on its own? 

No, it does not go away on its own. You will have to treat them well by following the steps mentioned above. In case of any further complications, you might as well require surgical intervention.

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