We generally do not recommend this. Although home treatment can sometimes be successful for very mild ingrown toenails, overall success rates are low, and the risk that your ingrown toenail will eventually become infected are much higher. Even if you are able to get some relief, before long it will likely return.
You should never attempt home treatment if you have a high-risk condition (diabetes, nerve damage, poor circulation, etc.) or an ongoing infection.
Contrary to what you may have heard, neither cutting a “V” shaped notch in the nail nor repeatedly trimming the nail borders are effective treatments. Placing cotton under the nail is also a bad idea, as it becomes a magnet for bacteria. And most over-the-counter treatments don’t address the underlying problem, though they can help with pain.
Ingrown toenails can be treated via a simple procedure performed in our office. A local anesthetic is used to numb the toe, so you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort. We then simply trim and remove the ingrown toenail, and bandage the toe. By the time the anesthesia wears off, you should be feeling a lot better!
If there is an infection present, we will of course provide additional treatment and prescribe an antibiotic as well.
For recurring ingrown toenails, we can also perform a second procedure to either alter the shape of the nail matrix, or remove a portion of it. Changing the shape of the matrix will allow the nail to grow back flatter, making it less likely to grow in. Removing a portion will prevent that part of the nail from growing back at all.