By | September 23, 2023

Ingrown toenails, though common, can be incredibly painful and disruptive to your daily life. If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort and annoyance of an ingrown toenail, you know just how important it is to prevent and treat it effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with expert advice from a seasoned podiatrist on how to prevent and treat ingrown toenails, ensuring you can step comfortably through life.

Understanding Ingrown Toenails

Before delving into prevention and treatment, let’s first understand what ingrown toenails are. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a toenail, usually the big toe, grows into the surrounding skin rather than straight out. This can result in pain, swelling, redness, and even infection. There are several factors that can contribute to ingrown toenails, including:

  1. Improper Nail Cutting: Trimming your toenails too short or cutting them at an angle can encourage ingrowth.
  2. Tight-Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that squeeze your toes together can put pressure on the nails, increasing the risk of ingrowth.
  3. Injury: Stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it can cause the nail to grow abnormally.
  4. Genetics: Some individuals are more predisposed to ingrown toenails due to their genetic makeup.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Prevention is often the best strategy when it comes to ingrown toenails. Here are some proactive steps you can take to keep ingrown toenails at bay:

1. Proper Nail Care

  • Trim your toenails straight across, avoiding rounded edges. This prevents the nail from growing into the surrounding skin.

2. Wear Proper Footwear

  • Opt for shoes that fit well and provide ample room for your toes. Avoid tight, narrow shoes that compress your toenails.

3. Avoid Trauma

  • Be cautious to prevent injury to your toes, as trauma can lead to ingrown toenails.

4. Maintain Good Hygiene

  • Keep your feet clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection.

5. Consult a Podiatrist

  • If you’re prone to ingrown toenails, consider consulting a podiatrist for guidance and regular check-ups.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

If you’re already dealing with the discomfort of an ingrown toenail, here’s what you can do to alleviate the pain and promote healing:

1. Soak Your Feet

  • Soaking your feet in warm, soapy water for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and swelling.

2. Lift the Nail

  • Gently lift the ingrown edge of the nail with a sterile instrument and place a small piece of cotton or dental floss underneath. This encourages the nail to grow away from the skin.

3. Apply Antibiotics

  • If there are signs of infection, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment and cover the area with a bandage.

4. Wear Comfortable Shoes

  • Opt for open-toed or loose-fitting shoes to relieve pressure on the affected toe.

5. Consult a Podiatrist

  • If the ingrown toenail doesn’t improve or becomes infected, seek professional help from a podiatrist.

When Surgery Is Necessary

In some cases, ingrown toenails may require surgical intervention. This typically involves removing a portion of the toenail or the nail bed to prevent future ingrowth. Your podiatrist will assess the severity of the condition and recommend the most appropriate course of action. If you want more information about preventing and treating ingrown toenails, go to their support page to know more.


Ingrown toenails can be a painful and bothersome issue, but with proper prevention and timely treatment, you can find relief and avoid recurring problems. Remember, maintaining good foot hygiene, wearing appropriate footwear, and seeking advice from a podiatrist when needed are essential steps in keeping your toes healthy and pain-free.