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HomeHealthFind Out How To Remove Ingrown Toenail & Causes Of It

Find Out How To Remove Ingrown Toenail & Causes Of It

An ingrown toenail can be painful and annoying to deal with. Medically known as onychocryptosis, it can happen to anyone, at any age, however it appears to affect men slightly more often than women. It happens when the nail grows into the skin on the side of the toe, causing irritation, redness, and swelling. While ingrown toenails can sometimes heal on their own, most require some type of treatment to fully resolve. In this write-up, we will discuss how to remove ingrown toenail and causes of it. 

How to  remove ingrown toenail?

1. Soak the foot in warm water

Soaking the affected foot in warm water several times a day can help relax the skin and reduce swelling and inflammation. Add Epsom salt to the water to help draw out infection. Soak for 10-15 minutes a few times daily until the ingrown part of the nail grows out.

2. Use dental floss under the nail

So, how to remove ingrown toenail? Gently slide a piece of waxed dental floss under the ingrown edge of the nail. Avoid cutting into the skin. The floss helps lift the nail up and away from the skin so it can grow out naturally. Repeat daily after soaking. Be sure to use clean floss each time to avoid infection.

3. Take over-the-counter pain medication

Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling associated with an ingrown toenail. Always follow dosage instructions on the label.

4. Apply antibiotic ointment

After soaking and using floss, apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the area where the nail is irritating the skin. This prevents infection while the nail grows out. Reapply twice daily.

5. Wear open-toed shoes or sandals

Wearing tight shoes can put pressure on an ingrown toenail and make it worse. Opt for loose, open-toed shoes while the nail grows out to avoid friction and pressure on the affected toe.

6. Get a professional pedicure

If you are wondering how to remove ingrown toenail, you can get a professional pedicure. Have a pedicurist trim and file the nail to encourage proper growth and take pressure off of the side of the toe. Make sure they sterilise tools properly to prevent infection. Getting regular pedicures can prevent future ingrown nails.

7. Have the nail removed by a podiatrist

For severe or recurring ingrown toenails, see a foot doctor. They can numb the toe and surgically remove part or all of the nail. This provides permanent relief in cases where self-care fails.

Causes of Ingrown Toenail

Now that you know how to remove ingrown toenail, let’s check out the causes of it. 

1. Improper nail trimming

Cutting the nails too short or rounding the edges can lead to ingrown toenails. The shorter nails have sharper edges that dig into the skin. Cutting nails should follow the natural shape of the toe. Using proper nail trimming technique reduces the risk of developing ingrown nails.

2. Heredity

Some people are simply prone to ingrown nails due to hereditary factors like nail shape and thickness. Those with a family history of ingrown nails have a greater likelihood of experiencing them. Genetic predisposition can make a person more susceptible despite proper nail care.

3. Foot structure and bone misalignment

Certain foot types are more likely to get ingrown nails, such as those with excessive pronation (inward rolling of the foot) or supination (outward rolling of the foot). Having bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet can also contribute to recurrent ingrown toenails.

4. Injury to the nail or toe

Direct trauma to the toenail or toe can cause a nail to become ingrown. Stubbing the toe, dropping something on it, or jamming the nail can damage it, disrupting proper growth. Ill-fitting shoes that pinch the toes can also cause injury leading to an ingrown nail.

5. Nail fungal infections 

Onychomycosis, or toenail fungus, can distort nail shape and thickness, making them more likely to curve downward and dig into the skin. The infection causes inflammation, making the toe more sensitive. Treating the fungal infection is key to preventing ingrown nails.

6. Arthritic foot joints

Arthritis in the joints of the feet can cause toe deformities that put pressure on nails. Crooked, overlapping toes increase ingrown nail likelihood. Managing foot arthritis through medication, orthotics, or surgery can help minimize complications.

7. Excessive perspiration and moisture

Excess moisture from sweaty feet or socks traps germs and fungi next to the nails. This can lead to infection and abnormal nail growth. Wearing moisture-wicking socks and proper fitting shoes improves air circulation and reduces ingrown nail development.


Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem that can be painful if left untreated. Knowing how to remove ingrown toenail provides relief and prevents complications like infection. Understanding what causes ingrown nails allows you to take preventative steps. Being informed about treating and preventing this condition keeps your feet healthy, comfortable, and pain-free. But you must visit your doctor if it becomes worse. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which toe is most likely to get an ingrown nail?

A: Ingrown toenails occur most frequently in the big toe, but can happen in any toenail. 

Q: How can I prevent ingrown toenails?

A: Prevention tips include proper nail trimming technique, wearing roomy toe-box shoes, treating nail fungus, using moisture-wicking socks, and correcting any foot structural problems..

Q: When should I see a doctor for an ingrown nail? 

A: See a podiatrist if the home remedies of how to remove ingrown toenail don’t resolve it within a few days or if there are signs of infection like increased pain, redness, swelling, drainage, or fever.

Q: Does removing the nail increase risk of permanent deformity?

A: Yes, removing part or all of the nail can sometimes lead to permanent nail deformity, especially if not done properly.

Q: How long does it take for the nail to regrow after removal?

A: It typically takes 3-6 months for the nail to fully regrow after surgical or at-home removal.

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