Skip to main content
Health Hack: Cotton Swab to Stop an Ingrown Toenail

You are listening to Health Library:

Health Hack: Cotton Swab to Stop an Ingrown Toenail

Mar 08, 2019

An ingrown toenail can be extremely painful and, in some cases, require antibiotics and a procedure. On today’s Health Hack with Dr. Troy Madsen, learn how to stop an ingrown toenail before they even start.

Episode Transcript

Announcer: Health Hacks with Dr. Troy Madsen on The Scope.

Dr. Madsen: Today's health hack is treating an ingrown toenail to prevent it from getting worse. So if you've ever had an ingrown toenail, you know they're pretty miserable. They get inflamed. Sometimes you need to have a piece of the toenail cut off, you need to have the infection opened up and drained, and you need to go on antibiotics. So if you can catch this early, you can save yourself a whole lot of pain and headache.

An ingrown toenail essentially happens when one side of the toe or one side of the toenail digs into the toe and it grows out. It causes that area to just get inflamed. So if you can get that corner of the toenail and somehow lift it up so it's not pushing into the skin, you can prevent it from getting worse.

The hack here is to use a cotton swab. You take that cotton swab, you pull the cotton off the end of it, throw the stick away, and then take that cotton and roll it up so it's kind of a little bit longer and thin, and then you lift the edge of the toenail up, slide that cotton up under it, and then leave it there. Do that every morning after you take a shower when the skin's a little bit softer. What that does is it lifts the toenail up away from that edge of the skin. It prevents the toenail from growing into the skin and getting worse. If you do that for about a week, you're going to be good. The toenail will grow far enough you're not going to have an ingrown toenail. You'll save yourself from having to have any sort of procedure done or having that drained.

Announcer: For more health hacks, check out, produced by University of Utah Health.