How to Dissolve an Ingrown Toenail: Simple Solutions

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with an ingrown toenail, you know just how annoying and painful it can be. But fret not, because today, I’m here to share some straightforward tips on how to dissolve an ingrown toenail right from the comfort of your own home. No need for fancy tools or a trip to the doctor. We’ll tackle this common foot woe step by step, so let’s get started!

What is an Ingrown Toenail

Before we dive into solutions, it’s crucial to understand what exactly an ingrown toenail is. Picture this: Your toenail, instead of growing straight and neat, decides to curl and grow right into the surrounding skin. Ouch! That’s when things start to get painful and bothersome. Sometimes it even leads to infection.

Why does it happen, you ask? Well, it can be due to a variety of reasons like improper nail trimming, tight shoes, or just bad luck. Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s move on to how we can fix this pesky problem.

Soak Your Troubles Away

One of the simplest and most effective ways to tackle an ingrown toenail is by soaking your foot. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Fill a basin or a tub with warm water. Not too hot, just comfortably warm.

Step 2: Add some Epsom salt to the water. You know, that stuff you might have in your bathroom cabinet? It’s not just for fancy baths. The Epsom salt will help soften and dissolve the part of the nail that’s causing the trouble.

Step 3: Soak your foot in this magical Epsom salt water for about 15-20 minutes. This will not only relieve pain but also make it easier to work on your ingrown toenail.

Imagine this like a mini spa day for your foot! While your foot is soaking, you can catch up on your favorite TV show or read a chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

Gently Lift the Nail

Now that your toenail is all soft and ready, it’s time for a bit of gentle nail care. Remember, we’re keeping it simple, so don’t worry about needing any fancy tools.

Step 4: After soaking, take a clean, soft piece of cotton. You can find cotton balls in your medicine cabinet.

Step 5: Carefully lift the edge of the ingrown toenail with the cotton. Gently slide it under the nail, creating a little cushion between the nail and the skin. This might sound a bit tricky, but it’s not as hard as it seems.

Step 6: Change this cotton daily. It will help the nail grow above the skin rather than into it. Over time, your toenail should start to behave itself.

Remember, no need to rush this process. Take your time, and don’t force anything. It might take a few days to see noticeable improvement, but you’re on the right track.

Keep it Clean

While we’re on the topic of taking care of your ingrown toenail, let’s talk about cleanliness. We want to avoid any infection, don’t we?

Step 7: Wash your foot gently with mild soap and water every day. Make sure to pat it dry afterward. We’re aiming for cleanliness, not roughness.

Step 8: If you notice any signs of infection like redness, pus, or increasing pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. Infections need prompt attention.

Proper Footwear Matters

Prevention is often the best cure, they say. So, let’s chat about footwear for a moment.

Step 9: Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly. Tight shoes can squeeze your toes and encourage ingrown toenails to develop. So, make sure you’ve got some room to wiggle those toes.

Step 10: When trimming your toenails, cut them straight across, and avoid cutting them too short. This simple step can go a long way in preventing ingrown toenails from making a comeback.

When to Seek Professional Help

While these at-home remedies work for many folks, there are situations where it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. For instance:

  • If your ingrown toenail shows signs of infection, as we mentioned earlier.
  • If you have diabetes or poor circulation, don’t mess around with ingrown toenails. Reach out to your doctor right away.
  • If you’ve tried these home remedies for a few weeks with no improvement, it might be time to let a pro handle it.

What does the research say?

In this study, researchers from a hospital in Portugal wanted to find a better way to treat ingrown toenails, a common problem that can be quite painful. Normally, doctors use chemicals like phenol or sodium hydroxide to treat them, but these can take a long time to heal.

So, the researchers tried something different. They used a chemical called 80% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to treat ingrown toenails. They wanted to see if this would work better and make the healing process faster.

They studied 133 patients who had a total of 197 ingrown toenails. Before the treatment, they looked for reasons why people get ingrown toenails, like cutting their nails too much on the sides, having sweaty feet, or having thick skin around the nails.

After the treatment, they checked on the patients on different days, like 3 days, 30 days, 180 days, 270 days, and 360 days later, to see if there were any problems. They also asked the patients about their pain before the treatment, and 24 hours and 72 hours after the treatment.

Here’s what they found:

  1. Only 3 out of 197 toenails had the problem come back after the treatment. That’s a very low number.
  2. Before the treatment, 82% of patients had drainage around their toenails, but after the treatment, it went down to just 19%. So, the treatment helped with this problem.
  3. They also found that 3% of patients had extra tissue growing around their toenails before the treatment, but after the treatment, it was only a problem for 3% of patients.
  4. The most common reasons for ingrown toenails were cutting the nails too much on the sides (63% of cases), having sweaty feet (58%), and having thick skin around the nails (39%).

Most importantly, the patients reported that their pain went down a lot after the treatment.

So, the researchers concluded that using 80% TCA to treat ingrown toenails is a good and fast way to help people feel better. It’s a simple method that can make a big difference for people with this painful problem.


So, there you have it, neighbor! Dealing with an ingrown toenail might be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. With a bit of patience, some simple at-home care, and the power of Epsom salt, you can dissolve that ingrown toenail and get back to your daily activities in no time.

Remember, if you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences, feel free to drop a comment below. Have you ever had to deal with an ingrown toenail? How did you handle it? Let’s chat in the comments below!

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