We get asked treatment and home-remedy questions so often, we made a full FAQ page. One of the most common questions is how to help an ingrown toe nail so we thought we would cover it in more detail.

What Is An Ingrown Toe Nail?

An ingrown toe nail can cause acute and localised pain and most typically occurs on the big toes but can appear on others. The nail grows into the skin and can cause inflammation and pain when pressure is applied to the area. The toe can also be very red and many experience soreness in one or both sides of the toe. In more serious or developed cases, an infection can develop and cause pus and bleeding. Ingrown toe nails are extremely painful as it pierces the skin.

Ingrown toe nails can become dangerous as an unchecked and untreated nail can eventually infect the bone under the skin. This is particularly problematic for those who live with diabetes. The blood flow and nerves in the feet could already be quite poor already and so the injury might not heal or be discovered as quickly as it should.

What Causes an Ingrown Toe Nail?

Ingrown toe nails are often caused by the improper cutting or clipping of the nail. Try to ensure you cut in a straight line and completely across the toe. Do not leave long edges, cut in an arc or rip the nail away at the edge as this will encourage the nail to grow towards the skin and eventual curl into it. Only when the nail has pierced the skin is it considered an ingrown toe nail. Nails that have grown outwards and towards the fleshy part of the skin can also be painful but can usually be remedied with proper manicuring and maintenance.

Alternatively, poorly fitted shoes, particularly styles with narrow or pointed toes can encourage an ingrown toe nail. Socks and tights that are too tight can also cause ingrown toe nails as it forces the toes close together and can also perpetuate poor foot hygiene.

How To Treat An Ingrown Toe Nail At Home?

  • Wear comfortable shoes with enough room for the toe to sit comfortably. Wearing open-toed shoes wherever possible is also helpful.
  • Soak your toe in warm water to soften the skin. This will also help ease the pain.
  • Do not cut your nail whilst it is painful or ingrown. Improper cutting will make the situation worse.

If the nail has become infected, you will need to consult a doctor for antibiotics.

How To Prevent An Ingrown Toe Nail

  • Using nail scissors, cut in a straight line all the way across the toe.
  • Regularly maintain your nails and practice good foot hygiene.
  • Push your nail back after showers, when the skin is softest.

For any more information or advice, get in touch with one of our expert team members today.