6 Options to Relieve Ingrown Toenail Pain at Home

Ingrown toenails are a common condition that can significantly impact your quality of life. Whether you’re hoping to hit the gym or slip into your favorite pair of heels, the pain associated with ingrown toenails can get in the way of your plans. While many people with ingrown toenails only experience minor pain and inconvenience, others develop serious complications such as infection (which can even turn into life-threatening bone infections). As such, it’s worth addressing ingrown toenails as soon as they arise to avoid making your symptoms worse. 

If you or someone you know have got an ingrown toenail, don’t panic. The simplest way to resolve your issue is to give us a visit. If you’re short on time and your symptoms are relatively mild, however, it’s possible to treat your ingrown toenails at home, or at least lessen the likelihood of infection until you can come in. To help aid your recovery, we’ve put together a handy list of home remedies for you to try.  

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of a toenail curve around the edge of a toe and dig into the surrounding skin. As the toenail grows, it will cut deeper into the skin, causing pain, swelling, and redness. While it’s not always easy to determine the precise cause behind an ingrown toenail, common culprits include:

  • Toenail trauma.
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes that rub against the tip of the toe.
  • Cutting your toenails in a round shape instead of straight across.
  • Trimming your toenails too short.
  • Failing to keep your toes clean and dry.
  • Being genetically predisposed to curved toenails.

Most ingrown toenails affect the big toe, although this isn’t always the case.

Soaking feet to help treat an ingrown toenail

Remedies to relieve ingrown toenail pain at home

The following treatments are quick, simple, and will help relieve your pain. It is worth noting, however, that some treatments may be more effective than others, so you may wish to experiment with these options to boost your chances of recovery. 

1. Soak Your Toe in Warm, Soapy Water

Soaking your foot could help reduce swelling in your toe and provide much-needed pain relief. It’s also a great remedy to try if you need a quick, cost-effective solution. For best results, we recommend soaking your foot for around 20 minutes at a time, around three times a day. Why not use it as an excuse to sit down and unwind with a gripping book or your favorite beverage?

2. Soak the Toe in Apple Cider Vinegar

While soaking your toe in soapy water represents an easy option, it’s less effective than other measures. If you’re looking to soak your toe in something more powerful, apple cider vinegar could represent a better option. Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities, many sufferers of ingrown toenails swear by this common kitchen ingredient. To prepare your solution, mix a large bowl of warm water with a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar. Then, soak the foot for up to twenty minutes once per day. Remember to rinse and dry your foot thoroughly after soaking to prevent further infection and nasty odors!

3. Soak Your Toe in an Epsom Salt Solution

Epsom salts represent a common and often effective solution for mild cases of ingrown toenails. Epsom sales are widely available at reasonable prices in drug stores and grocery stores. Once you’ve got your hands on some salts, add a pinch of the salt to a bowl of warm water and soak for 20 minutes. Feel free to repeat this step a few times a day and massage the affected area to reduce painful inflammation. 

4. Cleanse your Toe with Hydrogen Peroxide

Commonly used to treat a range of wounds, hydrogen peroxide is a widely touted remedy for ingrown toenails that could help prevent infection. Start by creating a solution of warm water and hydrogen peroxide, ensuring it includes at least 3% hydrogen peroxide. Then, soak the foot for around 20 minutes up to three times per day. 

5. Wear Comfortable Shoes that Fit

One of the simplest and most effective ways to treat and prevent ingrown toenails is to invest in well-fitting shoes. Make sure that the shoes you wear have plenty of wiggle room and don’t rub against your toes while you walk. If you’re desperate to wear a pair of heels for a fancy occasion, try to limit the time you spend walking in the shoes and consider investing in toe protectors.

6. Apply Antibiotic Ointments 

Applying antibiotic ointments such as Bactroban or Tricin to ingrown toenails can help to reduce the risk of infection and promote healing. Make sure to follow any instructions provided with the ointment and apply a bandage following application. 

How NOT to Relieve Ingrown Toenail Pain at Home

Some people are tempted to try drastic ingrown toenail treatments to relieve their pain. While tempting, these treatments can make your problem worse. As such, we strongly recommend avoiding:

  • “Bathroom surgery”: While you may think you can treat your inflamed skin with sharp objects and cotton balls, attempting any kind of surgical procedure could trigger a serious infection. Only trained professionals should go anywhere near your toenails with surgical instruments.
  • Using prescription medicines, including topical antibiotics: You should only ever use prescription medications with guidance from a doctor. Failure to do so could lead to problems such as allergic reactions. 

Struggling to Treat Your Ingrown Toenails? We’re Here to Help!

If your ingrown toenail is very painful or shows signs of infection such as pus or discharge, it’s time to make an appointment with our podiatrists. The good news is that our podiatrists are trained to treat ingrown toenails as quickly and painlessly as possible. To make an appointment, please reach out at (972) 690-5374 or fill out our simple contact form. One of our friendly team members will be in touch, and we’ll get you back on your feet pain-free in no time!