How to Get Rid of An Ingrown Toenail at Home!


Any runner will tell you that many things can impact running. At the very least, injury can make running painful. Sometimes the problem is in what seems an unlikely area, but they happen nonetheless. 

You probably suffer from an ingrown toenail if you have a toenail growing sideways. Try not to worry too much.

There is help out there.

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Known in the medical world as Onychocryptosis, it is more commonly known as an ingrown toenail. Unfortunately, this is a condition that most runners experience at some point in their running careers.

What happens is that the toenail grows and curls into the sides of the skin or when the skin on the sides of the toenail grows and covers the edge of the nail. In both cases, the nail directly contacts the skin on its sides.

A runner in this situation feels excruciating pain and discomfort while walking. 

5 Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail

So how do you know if this is what is causing your foot pain?

  1. Tenderness: Is the area tender to the touch? Or does it feel more comfortable when you are not wearing shoes than when you are?
  2. Pain: Tenderness is one thing, but you might actually feel a sharp pain in your toe, as well as  the surrounding skin
  3. Swelling: If you have swelling of the skin surrounding your toenail, it could point to an ingrown toenail
  4. Redness: Look for visible redness in the outer skin
  5. Signs of infection around the nail area

These are all symptoms of an ingrown toenail, black toenail, fungal infection and/or hammertoe.

What Causes Toenails to Grow Sideways?

Heredity: This probably sounds crazy, but if your parent(s) get ingrown toenails, you are more likely to also. As unusual as it may sound, some people may only develop this condition because they tend to it.

They inherit such a condition and may face it at some point in their lives.

The Wrong Shoes: Picking up the wrong, ill-fitted pair of shoes can lead to problems with your toenails. There are several problems that a wrong shoe could cause to your feet. Wearing the wrong type of shoe during the development stage can cause ingrown nails and other foot problems.

If the nail is permanently curled because of the shoe, it is likely to dig into the skin as it continues to grow. Whether the shoe is too short or too narrow, a toed shoe that doesn’t fit well is definitely a major reason for an ingrown nail.

Poor Toe Nail Care: Lack of nail care is very common in our society. Many of us hardly pay attention to the health and cleanliness of our nails.

In addition to the incorrect trimming patterns, poor nail care can also lead to ingrown toenail problems. Moreover, breaking your toenail in the wrong pattern can also cause a change in its shape.

Trauma: Trauma caused to your toe or the nail plate is another common cause you may experience this condition. This could happen if the toenail is stubbed or if anything heavy is dropped on your toe. What seems like a black toenail, in the beginning, may end up with an ingrown toenail symptom.

This is a major issue for runners because the shoe touches the toe repeatedly when you run. In the long run, this could damage the flesh and injure it. This may also cause the nail to grow irregularly and continuously pressed into the flesh.

Infection: A bacterial infection could also lead to this condition. When a nail is constantly affected by bacteria, it could change its patterns of growth as well as the quality of the nail. As a result, it could start growing sideways and interrupt the flesh in the surroundings.

Medical Issues: Obesity and diabetes are two common medical conditions known for messing up the body’s natural mechanism and hormonal control. When the body undergoes such changes, it could also impact your nail health.  

Similarly, renal disorders, cardiac, and thyroid can also cause ingrown toenails.

Certain medications (for other treatments) could also mess up the health of your nails and hair.

Oral antifungals, retinoids, docetaxel, and ciclosporin are some medicines that have shown an adverse effect on the health of nails and hair.

Treating an Ingrown Toenail at Home

There are many things you can try to remedy your ingrown toenail problem. Whether it is your big toe or an ingrown pinky toenail bothering you, this is true. 

The first thing to try is soaking your foot in warm water and Epsom salts for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times each day. You should notice improvement. Some people place cotton under the ingrown edge after soaking when the skin and nails are both soft. This can help it to dry in a better position. 

Petroleum jelly and a bandage can help the wounded area while it heals, and choose sensible shoes that do not hurt the impacted area.

Lastly, you can take a pain reliever to help keep you comfortable.

What if the home remedies do not work?

Then you need to visit the doctor’s office. You may find a podiatrist, a foot specialist who specializes in treating feet, to be the best and quickest way to foot health.

A doctor may use the lift technique described above to gradually help the toenail grow in the correct location and direction. There are small gutter splints that can achieve this same purpose.

Sometimes the only thing to do is to remove part or all of the toenails. This is especially true if the toe is badly infected and filled with pus.

How Do I Stop My Toenail From Growing Sideways?

The best thing you can do is to cut your toenails straight across. Even though many people tend to cut their nails with a curve, that is not what is best for your foot health.

You can also help prevent further problems by ensuring your shoes fit properly. Be certain they are wide and long enough through the toe box to avoid damage to your tootsies. 

The worse things for your feet are those stylish, pointed-toe shoes or boots. These are a podiatrist’s nightmare. Steel-toed work boots can also cause problems, so be careful if you have to wear them to work. 

Even though running shoes are comfy shoes, avoid the temptation to run long in brand new shoes. They lack the flexibility to keep your toes happy. Save longer runs for shoes that are broken in.


What seems like a common and minor problem can turn nasty and big in no time. It is not easy for ingrown nail symptoms to go unnoticed due to the pain and the shape they take once the area is infected.

It is best to take care of the treatment at home as soon as you notice the first symptom – when the condition is still in its initial stage.

If your attempts to take care of things at home are clearly not working, seek medical advice. Being sidelined for a short period of time while working through a solution is better than what might happen if you put things off too long.  

A toenail growing sideways may seem like a little thing but be assured, it can cause big problems in a hurry.