How to Cut Out an Ingrown Toenail Edge

close-up of hands clipping toenails with a nail cutter
Cut your nails straight, not rounded (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you have an ingrown toenail, you may be experiencing a good deal of pain, redness, tenderness, and swelling. If left untreated, your toe may become infected, and may even impact the bone. The good news is that ingrown toenails are relatively easy to cut out, even before it becomes necessary to see a doctor.

How to cut out an ingrown toenail edge

Step 1

Begin by soaking the foot in warm water with Epsom salts for 10 to 15 minutes. This will soften the nail and relieve the pressure between it and the skin, allowing you to cut the nail more easily. When you are done soaking, dry the nail and gently massage the inflamed skin.

Step 2

Trim the entire nail. Make sure to cut strait, as rounded toenails are more likely to grow into the skin. Using the cleaning tool, gently scrape under and around the nail to remove and cleanse all of the dead skin cells that have accumulated.

Step 3

Use the tweezers to grasp the small piece of cotton and push it under your toenail at the corner that is ingrown. Be careful not to hurt yourself by pushing too hard! Instead, firmly but gently push in as much cotton as is comfortable. This creates space between the nail and the skin.

Step 4

Take a small clip from the corner of the nail to try and relieve the pain, being careful to avoid breaking the skin. Scrape and clean again, and repeat the process until the pressure is relieved.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water

  • Towel

  • Nail trimmer

  • Epsom salts

  • Small piece of cotton

  • Tweezers

  • Pointed cleaning tool

  • Water or antiseptic

Warning

If this process does not ease the pain, or if the problem recurs, be sure to contact your health care provider. If you have diabetes, you should not try to treat the nail yourself, but go to the doctor immediately.

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