Ingrown Toenail Removal: 

Ingrown Toenail Removal

An ingrown toenail is something no one wants to deal with, but if you have one, then you’re likely wondering what the best way to get rid of it is. Here’s how to remove an ingrown toenail.

You can gently lift up the ingrown toenail and place cotton or waxed dental floss beneath to encourage the toenail to grow normally. In some cases, surgery might be required to repair a damaged nail bed caused by an ingrown toenail.


Now that you know what to do to remove ingrown toenail, let’s take a closer look at what causes this issue and how to remove ingrown toenail.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

how to remove ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail is damaged, causing the nail not to fit properly into the side groove of your nailbed. As a result, the nail curls inwards and bites into the skin, hence the name ‘ingrown.’ The nail continues to grow even though it is deformed and can cause pain, swelling, and redness when it digs into the skin.

Worse yet, a piece of the nail can splinter, embedding itself in the tissue of your foot. The skin tissue piles up, causing more discomfort.

There are a number of causes for ingrown toenails, but the most common culprits are shoes that don’t fit properly and toenails that are poorly trimmed.

Shoes that are too tight can compress the side of the nail, forcing it to curl and alter the way it fits into the nailbed. When the nails are torn or peeled, the nail edge can bend down into the nail groove, causing inflammation and swelling.

In a similar way, if nails are not properly groomed, then they might grow incorrectly, again ‘biting’ into your feet and causing inflammation, discomfort, and, sometimes, infection.

Proper Shoes

As mentioned, proper shoes are important to avoiding ingrown toenails. Consider the shoes you wear on a daily basis. Do your feet feel compressed and too tight where they rest?

Is the edge of your nail pressed against the wall of the shoe? If so, then you might consider getting different shoes, especially if you have a recurring issue of ingrown toenails.

Shoes that are too tight can also put undue pressure on your big toe joint, potentially leading to calluses and bunions. If you have calluses on bottom of foot from your shoes, then you might consider Dr. Scholl’s Callus Remover.

If you need to discover how to get rid of calluses on feet, check here. Another great option if you need to get rid of foot callus is Swissklip. If you want to check them out for yourself, check out these Swissklip Callus Remover Reviews. While there are other more widely known callus removers, such as Dr. Scholl’s callus remover, Swissklip is by far the best callus remover in the market.


Another important hygiene step to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails is trimming your nails regularly. Nails that are short and cut neatly across will be much less likely to become ingrown.

Cut your nails straight across such that the corners of the nail stick out a little from the end of your toes. Make sure you use a clean pair of nail trimmers and clean them after every use to avoid other types of infection.

How to Remove Ingrown Toenail Yourself

If you only have mild discomfort as a result of ingrown toenails, then there are several at-home remedies you can try to remove ingrown toenail. These ingrown toenail removal at home methods can help:

  • Soak your feet in warm water – Add soap to the basin and mix well. Soak your feet for 10-20 minutes up to 3-4 times per day. Ideally, the nail will soften, reducing discomfort associated with ingrown toenails.
  • Use cotton or dental floss – After you soak your feet, position cotton or waxed dental floss beneath the ingrown toenail. Doing so will encourage the growth above the edge of your skin.
  • Apply petroleum jelly – Petroleum jelly, sometimes called Vaseline, helps keep your skin moist to reduce discomfort.
  • Use pain relievers – Some nonprescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help ease discomfort associated with ingrown toenails.

Of course, in addition to these remedies, you’ll want to make sure you’re addressing the underlying cause.

Whether you need to step up your nailcare routine or find better shoes, you’ll want to address the cause of your ingrown toenail to ensure you don’t have to deal with another one. As such, once you’ve learned how to remove an ingrown toenail yourself, it’s important to protect yourself from future problems.

Podiatrist Options

Ingrown Toenail Removal

If your primary health care provider or podiatrist (foot doctor) diagnoses you with an ingrown toenail, then they may recommend additional steps to recovery.

Nail Lift

Much like the at-home approach, your healthcare provider will gently lift the affected nail edge and put a splint underneath to separate the nail from the skin.

This process encourages the nail to grow above the nail edge and often takes 2-12 weeks to work. Sometimes, a cotton-coated solution is used to fix the nail in place, making the solution waterproof.

A gutter splint may be used to place a slit tube beneath the embedded nail. This split remains fixed until the nail grows properly above the edge of the skin. Doing so also has benefits in reducing the pain of an ingrown toenail.

Nail Taping

Using this method, your healthcare provider will gently remove the skin from the ingrown toenail using tape.


In rare cases, the process to remove ingrown toenail might be more in-depth, requiring surgery. It takes about 10 minutes and can be performed under local anesthesia. Ingrown toenail removal cost tends to be around $350.

Depending on the severity of the ingrown toenail—and whether infection is involved—different surgical treatment may be required, potentially changing the ingrown toenail removal cost. These include the following:

  • Removing the whole nail
  • Removing part of the nail and piled-up tissue
  • Removing part of the nail and applying chemical treatment
  • Removing the entire toenail and cutting away the tissue your nail grows from

Generally, surgical removal involves removing the side of the nail and destroying the nail bed to prevent regrowth, as well as removing any built-up tissue. Recovery patients should keep their foot elevated after surgery and refrain from running or intense exercise for 2 weeks following the surgery.

Final Thoughts

Ingrown Toenail Removal

An ingrown toenail can be unpleasant and cause increasing amounts of pain. Thankfully, in many cases, you can do ingrown toenail removal at home.

Start by soaking your feet and trying to gently place cotton or waxed dental floss as a splint to encourage proper growth. If the pain, ingrowth, or inflammation continue to worsen, consult a podiatrist to see what their recommendation for treatment may be.


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