How to Soak Ingrown Toes: 10 Steps

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How to Soak Ingrown Toes: 10 Steps
How to Soak Ingrown Toes: 10 Steps

Ingrown toenails or ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are usually caused by cutting the nail too short. However, some people are more prone to this problem due to heredity (such as having very curved nails) or lifestyle choices, such as wearing high heels too often. Ingrown toenails cause pain and inflammation because the tip or side of the nail grows into the soft flesh of the toe, usually the big toe. Ingrown toenails can often be treated and treated at home, one of which is by soaking the feet in warm water. However, sometimes medical action is also needed, especially if an infection occurs.


Part 1 of 3: Soaking Feet

Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 1
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 1

Step 1. Prepare a warm water bath for the feet

Basically, soaking the affected finger/toe in warm water has two benefits, namely: to reduce the discomfort caused, and soften the toenail in order to cut or slip something under it to reduce pressure. Get a container large enough to fit the entire leg, then fill it with really warm water. Consider adding Epsom salt to warm water, as it can significantly reduce swelling and pain. The magnesium content in Epsom salt can also help soothe the leg muscles.

  • Salt works as a natural antibacterial, but there are other ingredients you can add to the water to prevent possible infection, including white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, iodized liquid, and bleach.
  • The warmer the salt water bath, the more fluid will come out of the finger, which is good for reducing swelling.
  • Borrow or buy a small Jacuzzi for the feet if possible, then use it to soak the ingrown toenails as the gas jets inside will provide a gentle foot massage and better water circulation.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 2
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 2

Step 2. Soak the affected foot and finger

When the water is warm enough and Epsom salt and/or other natural antiseptic agent has been added, dip the entire foot and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. The foot soak can be repeated three to five times a day depending on the results, so don't throw away the soaking water if you plan to reuse it. If you're using Epsom salt, you'll notice that your feet may look a little shorter after 20 minutes of immersion - this is a sign that the fluid has been sucked out of your feet/toes.

  • Stretching your toes repeatedly during the soak can help improve blood flow.
  • If your main problem is swelling, try using a cold compress (with ice wrapped in a towel) after you've finished soaking your feet in warm water until your toes feel numb (about 10 minutes). Ice will help reduce acute inflammation and relieve pain.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 3
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 3

Step 3. Massage your fingers while they are soaking

Periodically massage the inflamed area of your finger while soaking it to help reduce inflammation. A little pus or blood may be seen oozing out of the finger into the water due to the massage, this is normal and will reduce pressure and pain in the finger.

  • Use your thumb and forefinger to gently massage the part of the toe that is most inflamed, starting at the very tip with a pushing motion toward the ankle.
  • While soaking, simply massage your toes for about five minutes. If you massage your toes any longer, irritation may occur.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 4
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 4

Step 4. Dry the entire foot thoroughly

Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly with a clean towel after you're done soaking them in warm water. Keeping your feet dry is important because bacteria and other potential parasites, such as fungi, like moist, warm conditions to grow and reproduce.

Raise your feet on a pillow after drying them to encourage blood flow away from your feet. This method can help reduce inflammation

Part 2 of 3: Treating Toes after Soaking

Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 5
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 5

Step 1. Apply an antibiotic cream

Apply an antibiotic cream, lotion, or ointment to the ingrown finger at least a few times a day according to the directions for use, especially just before going to bed at night. Use a sterile bandage after the cream has been absorbed into the soft tissue around the inflamed area. Be sure to change the bandage each time you apply the antibiotic cream.

  • Some compounds that are around the house and contain antibiotic properties include Bayclin bleach, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, baking soda dissolved in water, liquid iodine, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Be careful because home materials that function as antiseptics in general will feel sore if the skin is already injured due to sharp nails that grow piercing into it.
  • Colloidal silver is a very strong antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal and does not sting or irritate the skin when used. Colloidal silver can be found in health food and nutritional supplement stores.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 6
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 6

Step 2. Tuck a cotton swab or dental floss under the toenail

After soaking your foot in warm water, the ingrown toenail will soften, allowing you to slip a thin piece of cotton, gauze, or dental floss (clean, of course) under your nail. Cotton, gauze, or dental floss will support the sensitive soft tissue around the nail. Carefully open the inflamed area of the skin and lift the nail with a file, or similar, then gently tuck the cotton swab under the nail. Change the cotton every day.

  • In about one to two weeks, your toenail will grow so that it is no longer piercing into the skin.
  • Avoid trying to do a “single surgery” by trimming your nails to relieve the pain, as this can actually make your feet worse.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 7
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 7

Step 3. Trim nails properly

Don't repeat the same mistake once your nails have grown and are long enough to trim. Therefore, trim your nails by forming a flat, straight edge and do not taper the ends or cut at the corners. Also, try not to cut your fingernails too short as this can worsen the condition of the injured finger.

  • If you're getting your nails done at a salon, ask to have them trimmed with straight, flat edges and not too close to the skin. As a rule of thumb, don't let your fingernails get under the sides and tips of your toenails.
  • See your family doctor or a podiatrist for advice and/or treatment, if home treatments and changes to your nail trimming technique don't help or prevent ingrown toenails.

Part 3 of 3: Assessing Toenail Condition

Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 8
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 8

Step 1. Determine the cause of your pain

If one big toe (or the other toenail) becomes inflamed and starts to hurt, remove the nylon sock or finger wrap and take a close look to determine the cause. Your feet are more likely to get ingrown toenails if the condition develops slowly, gets worse by the day, and you've trimmed your nails too short, and/or wore tight shoes. In most cases, an ingrown nail or puncturing the surrounding soft tissue can be seen easily.

  • In addition to pain and swelling, another visible sign of an ingrown toenail is that it is tender to the touch and reddish in color along one or both sides of the nail.
  • Ingrown toenails are more common in adolescence and among athletes, especially boys.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 9
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 9

Step 2. Look for signs of infection

The most severe result caused by ingrown toenails is a bacterial infection that comes from penetrating the surrounding skin. The tissue around the infected ingrown toenail will become softer and swell, slightly hard and warm to the touch, and will eventually ooze foul-smelling pus. Some of the skin will peel and look like a blister from the warmth and swelling.

  • The infection develops because the immune system sends white blood cells to kill all the bacteria in the wound (which is a good thing). However, sometimes bacteria can multiply faster than white blood cells can handle.
  • Visit and consult a doctor if the infected finger does not heal within a week, and/or appears to spread beyond the affected area. The doctor may remove the part of the ingrown toenail through surgery.
  • You're actually pushing your fingernail into the side of the skin if you cut by tapering the corners so that they curve around the shape of your finger.
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 10
Soak an Ingrown Toenail Step 10

Step 3. Rule out other common causes of finger pain

There are a number of other painful conditions to be aware of and look like ingrown toenails. Relevant examples include gout (a type of inflammation of the joint), bunions (chronic toe sprains that cause deformity), broken or detached toes, chronic inflammation of the joints (rheumatoid arthritis), necrosis (death of body tissue due to lack of blood flow). blood), diabetes-related neurological disorders, neuromas (benign tumors of the small nerves in the legs), and fungal infections.

  • Attacks of wheezing occur quickly, usually within a few hours, and cause intense pain and inflammation in the big toe. Gout has to do with food - from eating too many purine-containing foods, such as seafood and organ meats.
  • Bunions also affect the thumb, and are mainly caused by years of wearing narrow shoes. Bunions are basically chronic sprains of the joints. An indication of a bunion is a finger that is bent, sore, and painful like gout.
  • A tripped finger or other foot injury can trigger an ingrown toenail.


  • Add some essential oil (just a few drops) to the water to soak the ingrown toe - lavender or tea tree oil works well and can prevent infection.
  • Wear shoes that are the right size for your feet, otherwise your toes will be squeezed, causing the nail to grow into the surrounding tissue.
  • Consider wearing open sandals or flip-flops, instead of closed shoes, until the condition of the inflamed toe improves.
  • Later, try shoes during the day because at that time, the feet are in their largest size. It is usually caused by swelling and pressure on the arch of the foot.
  • If the ingrown toenail needs to be removed by a doctor or podiatrist, the time it takes for the nail to grow back is between 2 to 4 months.


  • Infections of the toes can progress to deeper soft tissue infections (cellulitis), which can eventually infect the bones (osteomyelysis). Therefore, see a doctor if the condition of the swollen toe gets worse or does not improve after one week.
  • Instead of trying to treat ingrown toenails at home, see your doctor right away if you have diabetes, have nerve damage to your feet, poor blood flow, or a weak immune system.

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