17 Jun

Do you have curved toenails?

A thick and curved toenail can jam into the corner of your skin and cause some serious pain! If it is too painful to cut out yourself- follow our tips for getting better!


IngrownToenail Curved Toenail Treatment

Curved big toenail


 Ingrown toenail?

A curved or ingrown toenail is a very common problem which occurs when the corner of your toenail grows into the soft border of your toe. If the pain is not that bad, you can just cut the corner out yourself and after a day or two the swelling will decrease and you will feel much better. If you can’t seem to get to the corner because it is too painful, follow this guide on getting that corner out of there!

If you have diabetes, problems with bleeding, poor circulation or any other medical problem- go see your podiatrist immediately!


Causes of curved toenails inward:

The cause is not the most important part, usually they are just curved in genetically. This may also be because of your biomechanics or an increase in weight over the years. If you think there may be something going on with your walking biomechanics, go see a podiatrist for an evaluation.

  • Wearing tight shoes that crowd your toenails.
  • Cutting the nails too short.
  • Injury to your toenails.
  • Jamming your toenail.
  • Most Common: Genetically curved or hardened toenail.


Thick curved toenail symptoms


You are probably fine if none of these symptoms are taking place:

  • No Nausea, fever or chills.
  • No pus is present.
  • Toe doesn’t smell unusual.
  • Toe is not really hot.



If this is you , get your but to the emergency room or your doctor to get some antibiotics. There is poor blood flow to the ends of the toes and this can take a long time to heal or worse!

  • Redness that is spreading.
  • Swollen nail bed & toe is very warm.
  • Increased nausea, fever or chills.


If you think you may have toenail fungus instead:

If your nails are thick, crumbly and discolored, follow our complete toenail fungus guide.

Home treatment of thick curved toenails

First make sure to check if the skin is broken or irritated around the curved toenail edge. Make sure to have an antibiotic ointment around, we want to keep this from developing any type of infection!


Tip #1: Epsom soaks and splint the nail.

  • Soak the foot in warm water once or twice for 15-30mins. You can added Epsom salts for added benefit. Just add a couple table spoons to your warm water foot bath.
  • Epsom salts can help may the nails and skin much more soft. They are very cheap an available at most stores, the help moisten and swell the tissues around the nail.There is limited scientific research on the added benefits of Epsom salts. But there is a huge amount of testimonial data (as with most natural cures).


Tip #2: splint the nail after soaking.


toenails Curved Toenail Treatment

  • Continue these baths until they have made the nail and the skin softer allowing better evaluation or cutting of the corner. Once there is less pain you can move onto the next step.
  • After the nail is more flexible, try to lift the nail and put some gauze or a band-aid underneath the sharp and painful corner. Doing this will allow the nail to grow out over the edge of the nail bed.
  • You can also try using a nail clipper to just snip the edge of the nail at this point as well.


Tip #3: cut the curved toenail across.


nail cutting Curved Toenail Treatment

Don’t cut curved toenails inward


  • The general recommendation is to cut the nail across. rather than curving it back.
  • I say at this point: just cut out what is bothering you, because that is the most important thing.
  • Usually you shoudl try and cut across though.


Tip #4: make sure you apply antibiotic ointment.


triplekk.web Curved Toenail Treatment


  • Most Important: Make sure to apply antibiotic ointment over the red area. Any ointment is good (Neosporin, Triple antibiotic ointment, bacitracin etc).


Tip #5: wear open shoes.


Beach Sandals Curved Toenail Treatment


  • Wear open shoes like sandals until it gets better.
  • Or try to wear shoes with a nice amount of room in the front.
  • You can lso keep the cotton ball jammed under the corner of the nail for added relief.
  • Don’t wear things like any high heeled shoes or dress shoes, your nail might push against the edges after a couple hours and cause some serious pain.


Tip #6: take anti-inflammatory medication.


ibuprofen Curved Toenail Treatment


  • If there is severe pain, it never hurts to take some pain relievers.
  • PS- Always check with your doctor 1st!
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others)


Tip #7: prevention!

  • Trim your toenails straight across.
  • Prevent cutting them far too short.
  • Wear shoes with enough room in the front.
  • Wear protecting shoes if you work a job that puts your toes at risk.


Tip #8: get the nail edge permanently removed.


71388 fx1 Curved Toenail Treatment


  • If it comes back for many months, a 15 minute podiatrist appointment will get rid of that edge for good!
  • Take a look at our nail edge removal guide.


When to go see a podiatrist:

  • Come see us the ingrown toenail keeps coming back and causing you pain.
  • You should not have an ingrown toenail for more than a couple months.
  • Early treatment includes splints, cotton wicks, plastic strips, plastic tubes down the side of the nail, plastic type glue under the corner is possible.
  • The 1st step is to resect the nail after some numbing medication is used, then correct the underlying problem, whether it be nail dystrophy or nail fungus.
  • The 2nd step is to see if it comes back in 1-2 months. An X-ray should be taken to rule out a bone spur under the nail.  A nail avulsion may be attempted- this is a permanent resection of that border of the nail ensuring it will never grow back.
  • Tetanus prophylaxis may be needed. 1st the podiatrist will numb around the base of the toe, then cut back on the nail and use sodium hydroxide or phenol in the nail bed to keep the nail from growing back .
  • If an infection is present- Antibiotics will be necessary, then the toe is covered by ointment and gauze- you will be back on your feet in no time!
  • More extensive surgery can be used in very severe cases to remove the entire nail. The nail matrix is then treated with Phenol to prevent re-growth.
  • This nail resection procedure usually keeps the border away for good!

For more information about curved toenails and treatment visit this link.


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