Ingrown toenails are a common problem among many people. People suffer from ingrown toenails when the toenail curves down at the sides. This condition can cause a great deal of discomfort, including redness, swelling and pain. This condition can happen for many reasons and often occurs in the big toe. Some ingrown toenails might not hurt, but if the nail breaks the skin, it could lead to an infection. You should take care when trimming an ingrown toenail. This can be done with items commonly found in most households.

Things You'll Need

Soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes to help soften the nails and reduce swelling. Epsom salts or antibacterial soap can be added to the water, but are not required.

Use your fingers to push back the swollen skin around the nail. This may cause you some pain, so refrain from pushing farther than swelling allows.

Trim the nail straight across. Start on the side of the toenail opposite the swelling. Do not start in the middle of the nail; this can possibly create a split and may make the condition worse. Do not cut the nail too short: Leave about one-eighth of a centimeter.

Gently lift the swollen skin off the nail and continue to clip the nail straight across from where the first cut left off.


  • Avoid shoes that fit too tightly. Don’t engage in activities that put too much pressure on the toes.