How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails – How to Cut, Trim & Prevent from Coming Back


Here’s how to prevent ingrown toenails with tips on how to cut your toe nails, home prevention methods and much more. Also learn how to prevent them from coming back and preventing ingrown toe nails after losing a nail.

While certain cases of toenails are hereditary, improper lifestyle choices such as wearing an ill-fitting pair of shoes and incorrect trimming of nails are commonly to blame. So how do you prevent ingrown toenails?

How to prevent ingrown toenails - wear shoes that fit well
How to prevent ingrown toenails – wear shoes that fit well

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

While there is nothing you can do about accidental stubbing of your toe, there are many measures that you can undertake to prevent ingrown toenails.

Trim your toenail properly

Cutting your toenails too short and rounding the edges to match the shape of your toe is one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails. Trimming your toenail correctly will thus reduce your chances of developing toenails significantly.

To start with, you should trim your toenails straight across the top as opposed to cutting them at an angle at the tips of the toenail. It is often easier to cut your toenails after having a shower since they are likely to be softer.

In addition you will want to maintain your toenails at moderate length. Of course you don’t want to have toenails that are too long to tear your socks all the time but you shouldn’t have them too short lest the pressure exerted by your shoes make the toenail to embed itself into the soft tissue.

Ideally, you should cut your toenails so that they are at par with the tips of your toes and the corners of the nail are visible above the skin.

Wear properly fitting shoes and socks:

Shoes that fit too tightly can crowd the toes together and apply too much pressure on them as to make the toenails to grow into the soft tissue on their edges.

Wearing a properly fitting shoes and socks is thus a great way to ensure good health of your feet and prevent ingrown toenails. You will in particular want to switch to shoes that have plenty of room around your toes.

It is advisable to shop for shoes in afternoon hours. This is because feet swell in the course of the day which means that of a pair of shoes fits in the afternoon, chances are that it will be comfortable for your feet throughout the day.

And if the nature of your job puts you at risk of get a foot injury, wear protective footwear e.g. steel-toed shoes at all times.

Proper foot hygiene

Adopting proper foot hygiene is as well important in preventing ingrown toenails. As we have already mentioned excessive sweating can make the skin fold around the toenails soft and make is easy for the toenail to embed itself within it.

In addition to changing your socks regularly (preferably every day) you will also want to wash your feet every day with soap and water. Once clean, dry your feet thoroughly and apply a moisturizing foot cream or Vaseline (not body lotion).

It is also advisable to get rid of the dead skin flakes regularly using a foot file or pumice stone. This will help to not only prevent ingrown toenails but also foot odor.

How to Cut Toenails to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Trimming your toenails too short and rounding the edges to make them match the shape of your toe can make them look nice but this can as well increase your susceptibility to ingrown toenails. Two words summarize the whole discussion on how to trim toenails very well: straight and moderately-long.

With these two words in mind, here is how to cut toenails to prevent ingrown toenails:

  • Soak your feet in water for 5 minutes to soften the nail. This is an optional option that is meant to make the work easier for you. You can as well skip this step if you are just from the shower.
  • Trim the nail straight across the top using a sharp nail clipper. Avoid cutting the nail too short or rounding the corners.
  • Once you are done, ensure that your feet are clean and dry at all times. You will also want to wash your feet with soap and water everyday.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails from Coming Back

If you have ever experienced it and you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be, you may want to learn how to prevent ingrown toenails from coming back ever. Well, preventing that ingrown toenail from growing back revolves about keeping all the causative factors such as wearing poorly-fitting shoes, improper cutting of toenails, excessive sweating, and nail injury at bay.

Here is a list of simple ways to prevent ingrown toenails from coming back:

  • Consider both style and comfort while choosing a pair of shoes. Ideal shoes should fit well and have ample room for the toes to avoid crowding them
  • Trim your toenail the right way (as described above)
  • Wear protective shoes e.g. steel-toed shoes if your occupation puts you more at risk of injury
  • Keep your shoes clean and dry
  • Change your socks regularly and alternate your pair of shoes to avoid excessive sweating
  • Get proper treatment for athlete foot or any other toenail infection
  • Do not pick or tea your toenails
  • If your toenail is the result of a naturally poorly shaped toenail e.g. a toenail that is too wide and curved, surgery maybe needed.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails at Home

The other day, one of our valued website visitors asked us to “explain how to prevent toenails at home”. You can easily avoid ingrown toenails by observing proper lifestyle and foot hygiene practices.

Proper trimming of toenails and choosing properly fitting footwear are no doubt some of the best ways to prevent ingrown toenails.

In addition you will want to protect your foot from injury. For example, if your job involves the risk of injury from falling objects, you should wear steel-toed shoes at all times.

Important also is to keep your feet clean and dry and get fresh air as frequent as possible especially if you are prone to excessive sweating. And if a fungal infection strikes, consider using an appropriate home remedy such as apple cider vinegar to get rid of it as soon as possible.

How to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail after Losing a Nail

A toenail can fall off after a trauma e.g. a heavy object falls on it (ouch! that hurts). A doctor or podiatrist may also decide to remove a toenail during treatment of ingrown toenail or any other foot problem.  The question then is, “how can an individual prevent the nail growing back from becoming ingrown?

Well, here is how to prevent an ingrown toenail after losing a toenail:

  • Take care of the wound left behind. In particular you will want to keep it clean and apply antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin to avoid infection
  • Wear open shoes whenever possible to relieve the growing toenail of the pressure from shoes
  • Use heavy socks, bandage or sterile gauze to cushion the tender area that was initially beneath the toenail against friction by shoes.
  • Once the toenail begins to grow back, you may want to use a Band-Aid to prevent it from tugging onto beddings and socks as this can make it tear and grow unevenly leading to ingrown toenail.