How To Prevent Ingrown Toenails and Ways To Treat It

Do you have problems with ingrown toenails? If so then you’ll want to know how to prevent ingrown toenails. This can help to prevent a lot of pain/discomfort when your nail actually grows into the surrounding skin.

Toe swelling due ingrown toenail

Are you suffering from ingrown toenails? Nearly 20% of the USA’s population aged 21+ years old have experienced this condition. It involves the nail growing into the skin around it instead of above the skin. Like ingrown hair, it’s quite common. The key is to know issues like symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevention. That includes how to prevent ingrown toenails. The good news is you can not only treat the condition but also take steps to reduce your chance of getting it from the get-go. This can make your life easier since you won’t have to deal with nails growing into your skin.

There are various causes of this condition. They include ones like genetics, bad-fitting footwear, and nail-clipping techniques. These factors and more can cause your toenails to grow into your skin and cause an infection. It can be tough to deal with, but the good news is there are several effective steps you can take for treatment and prevention. For example, you could soak your feet in warm/soapy water or apple cider vinegar (ACV). These are just a few of the home remedies you can use to deal with ingrown toenails effectively. The key is to take steps to prevent the skin from becoming infected.

What Exactly Are Ingrown Toenails?

This is the first issue to take up before talking about treatments and conditions. This is a medical condition that can be very painful. It affects any toe located on the patient’s foot. The most common toe affected is the “big toe.”

Here’s what happens. The toenail’s front and/or side start curling then grows into the toe’s skin. This causes various symptoms including swelling, redness, and possible infection/bleeding. The last to symptoms are more serious ones to watch out for.

The first symptom the patient experiences is mild pressure/pain that takes place in the toe. It’s important to deal with the condition because the pain will worsen if it’s not treated. It will then become red.

If a big part of the toenail gets ingrown you can see signs of this condition. However, there are some situations when a piece of the toenail is the only area that gets ingrown. The problem is while it’s tougher to see, it can cause the same amount of pain. Sometimes it causes even more pain. The feeling could be like a knife piercing the skin.

There are some cases when the ingrown nail gets infected. This can cause various symptoms like warm affected area, pus around the nail, or raised skin. If the infection does not get the treatment it can spread to other areas. It can cause more issues to deal with.

There are many reasons why this condition happens. Some people are more likely to get the condition compared to others. The top cause of ingrown nails is tight shoes/socks. Genetics is another possible factor. For example, sometimes the nails curve naturally side-to-side instead of lying level on the patient’s nail bed.

Particular health conditions can result in ingrown toenails. They include bad blood circulation, diabetes, and various skin conditions. Your doctor can help diagnose the problem.

How to Treat Ingrown Toenails

Dental floss/Cotton

It might seem like an odd one, but some people claim it works. Just pack the area with dental floss (waxed) or small pieces of cotton. Place under the affected toenail’s edge. This helps to promote correct nail growth.

There’s some debate among medical experts about whether you should use this home remedy. So make sure to do your homework first before trying it.

ACV soak

You can soak your foot in this folk remedy that includes the folk remedy apple cider vinegar (ACV). This home remedy has been trending in recent years and might help to deal with curled toenails. It’s claimed ACV can fight inflammation and pain. More research is needed. It’s worth trying this basic remedy that requires ACV and some warm water.

Comfortable footwear

Since these are some of the main causes of this condition, it’s logical to make sure you’re wearing good-fitting ones. Make sure there’s some wiggle room but not too much. If the shoes/socks are too tight this can cause the nail to dig into your skin. Meanwhile, if they’re too loose, this can cause blisters because your feet will slide around in the shoes/socks.

Toe protector

This accessory helps to provide a barrier for the infected nails(s). You can get these as rings that co around the toe’s affected region or a ring for the whole toe. You can even find some toe protectors that include some gel, so the toenails get softer. This makes it easier to trim them.


You can add an over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic cream/ointment. It can help to speed up healing and lower infection risk. Just apply some ointment/cream to the affected nail. Make sure to use the product’s instructions to get the best results.

Normally, you have to apply this 3x daily. After you apply the products add a bandage to the affected toenail to protect it.

How to prevent ingrown toenails

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Avoid toe trauma

Make sure to avoid trauma to the toe area as much as possible. Let’s say that you play sports that require a lot of contact between your foot and a soccer ball, for example. After your practice/game stay barefoot for 1-2 hours afterward. This allows a lot of wiggle room and lets your foot breathe. IT also helps to prevent your nails from digging into the toe’s skin.

Toe inspection

Make sure to inspect your toes from time to time to see if there are signs of ingrown nails. If you feel some new pain in the area and there are visible signs that something isn’t right, then make sure to check it out. You should also contact a skin doctor if you have problems like infection. These are more serious issues, and it can spread to other body parts.

Proper footwear

Make sure both of them fit properly, they shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. In terms of ingrown nails, the main issue is ones that are too tight. Then the socks/shoes put pressure on the nail, this causes it to push into the skin. That can cause the nail to become ingrown and possibly infected.

Family history 

You can also find out if your family members have had the same condition. This probably isn’t the best dinnertime topic but you could research whether a lot of family members have had this situation. It might turn out that there’s a certain health condition that’s the main cause of ingrown nails.

Proper nail-cutting

Make sure you cut/trim your nails properly. For example, avoid cutting them too short or cutting the nails’ corners unevenly. It’s better to cut straight across. This can help to prevent issues like ingrown toenails and is one of the best methods for how to prevent ingrown toenails.

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