An ingrown toenail is when the side edge of the nail grows into the skin. It then continues to grow which causes inflammation, swelling, pain and sometimes infection. Making that part of the toe uncomfortable to wear shoes and even have a duvet on at night.

What does an ingrown toenail look like?This is what an ingrown toenail looks like.

General symptoms include:

  1. Pain and tenderness along the side of the nail and toe
  2. Redness around the toenail
  3. Swelling
  4. Possible infection at the point of the ingrown nail

How do I treat an ingrown toenail?

Sometimes you may be able to treat these at home. This is only when the nail/toe does not show any signs of infection, swelling, redness or hot to the touch.

  1. Soak the foot in warm salt water for no longer than 10 mins.
  2. Gently cut the nail and round off the corner with a file
  3. If this is too painful then you may be able to place a small piece of cotton wool underneath the nail with an antibiotic ointment on it to help ease it in. However, do not push this too far under the nail
  4. See a Foot Health Professional if the nail is infected or if you aren’t sure you can deal with treating yours at home

Never ignore an infected ingrown nail. Prolonged infection can spread and lead to complications, especially if you are diabetic or have circulatory problems and an impaired immune system.

How do you fix an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a common problem where the nail grows into the toe. It can be painful, but there are things you can do to ease the pain.

  1. Soak the foot in warm water 3 to 4 times a day for a few days. This will help soften the skin around your toe and stop the nail from growing into it.
  2. Keep your foot dry for the rest of the day.
  3. Wear wide, comfortable shoes or sandals.
  4. Take pain relief to ease the pain.


  1. Do not cut your toenail too short
  2. Do not pick at your toe or toenail
  3. Do not wear tight, pointy shoes
  4. Don’t be a bathroom surgeon


  1. Use dental floss on the nail and gently try to lift up the corner of the nail that’s digging into the skin. You can do this after soaking your foot.

If this does not solve the problem then you may require a visit to a Foot Health Professional for treatment. They may recommend the following:

  1. Regular Foot Health Appointments
  2. Treating the nail with Onyfix nail correction system
  3. Nail surgery

There are two types of surgery, these are:

  1. Partial Nail avulsion – removing part of the toenail.
  2. Total Nail Avulsion – removing your whole toenail.

Partial nail avulsion is the most common. This is where the toe is numbed with a local anaesthetic and the edges of the toenail are cut away. A chemical called phenol is then applied to the affected area to prevent the nail from growing back and becoming ingrown in the future.

How do I prevent ingrown toenails?

To help prevent an ingrown toenail:

  1. Trim your toenail straight across and then round off the corners with a file. If you are a diabetic or have poor circulation visit a Foot Health Professional for regular routine Foot Health Treatments every 6-8 weeks to keep your feet healthy.
  2. Keep toenails at a moderate length. When trimming your toenails make sure they are even with the tips of your toes and no jagged edges. If your toenails are too short, pressure from your shoes can cause the toenails to ingrow.
  3. Wear shoes that fit comfortably. Ensure that they are wide enough at the toe area to allow you to spread your toes.
  4. Check your feet daily if you have diabetes, looking for any signs of ingrown toenails or other foot problems.

If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail or would like further help and advice on how to prevent an ingrown toenail, then please get in touch with our foot care clinics in Beeston or Ilkeston.