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Updated October 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Beehome Profession Toenail Kit
Beehome
Profession Toenail Kit
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Top Quality
Bottom Line

A 4-piece toenail correction kit that includes virtually all of the tools you need.

Pros

The included clipper is extra-large for toenails of a variety of sizes. Toenail correction device is curved to give you the best results by changing the angle of the toenail growth. The all-silver construction of each tool makes them easy to clean and maintain for long periods.

Cons

Lacks instructions to get the best results right from the start.

Best Bang for the Buck
Fox Medical Equipment Ingrown Toenail Treatment Tools
Fox Medical Equipment
Ingrown Toenail Treatment Tools
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All The Basics
Bottom Line

This simple 3-piece ingrown toenail removal set doesn't sacrifice quality despite its affordable price.

Pros

Includes 3 podiatrist-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel tools — a nail file and 2 ingrown toenail tools. The metal won't rust, while the included vinyl case prolongs their lifespan. Great starter set for first-time buyers. Great people with hard toenails that are hard to manage.

Cons

The file is small, and the probe may be too round for experienced users.

Zizzili Toenail Clippers for Ingrown Toenail
Zizzili
Toenail Clippers for Ingrown Toenail
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Portable Convenience
Bottom Line

This handy tool is a heavy-duty toenail clipper and an ingrown hair remover in 1 convenient item.

Pros

They're designed to clip thick, ingrown toenails and handle a variety of other podiatry needs. Despite their large design, they're precise clippers. They're easy to clean when you're done using them. A great 1-stop tool for basic toenail problems.

Cons

The spring is cheap compared to the sturdy steel clippers.

Bcabo Ingrown Toenail Kit
Bcabo
Ingrown Toenail Kit
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

This comprehensive set of toenail care tools can help solve painful growth problems as well as prevent them.

Pros

The 8 tools in this set help with cleaning, maintenance, and toenail growth correction. Made with surgical-grade stainless steel, the tools are corrosion-resistant and easy to sanitize. The curved angle on the nipper makes it easier to clear away painful growth.

Cons

You may need to watch online tutorials to get a better grasp of how the tool works.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Models
Considered
188
Consumers
Consulted
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Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best toenail correction tools

At some point, most people will have a toenail issue. These can range from a mild nuisance to a situation that impacts your daily life. Unless there is an underlying health condition, the best way to tackle these problems is often with good hygiene. All you need is a quality set of toenail correction tools.

The best toenail correction tools for you are suited to your particular problem: a nail file alone won’t be much help for an ingrown toenail. Also, nail correction tools should be well made and durable enough to serve you for many years.

Here, we give you some information about toenails, how they grow, and what problems they can experience. Also, our buying guide offers some tips for good toenail hygiene. We also run down the main types of tools found in a toenail correction kit, so you have a better idea of what you might need.

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In some instances when poor hygiene is ruled out, repeated fungal infections in the toenail may be a symptom of an underlying health condition such as poor circulation or diabetes.

Key considerations

Toenail 101

A toenail is made up of keratin, the same protein as hair. The cells of a toenail are constantly growing in an area called the nail matrix that’s by the cuticle, located under the lunula (the white half-moon shape). As these cells multiply, the old ones get pushed up and forward. By the time these cells are visible, they’re dead, which is why it doesn’t hurt to trim your nails. 

The nail folds, located along the sides of the toenail can become painful and infected if the edges of the nail grow into them, resulting in what’s known as an ingrown toenail.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Besides heredity, there are three main reasons why a toenail may grow incorrectly: improper trimming, constrictive footwear, and repeated activity.

Improper trimming: One of the biggest reasons people have problems with ingrown toenails is because they round the toenail when they trim it. If you cut the corners off the front of your toenail, as the dead cells are pushed forward, they will burrow into the nail folds and cause pain and possibly infection.

Constrictive footwear: Footwear that is too tight around the toes applies pressure to the toenails. Again, as dead cells are pushed forward, they conform to the pressure and grow in the direction of least resistance, which is often up or into the nail folds.

Repeated activity: Any activity where you are constantly impacting the edge of the toenail may eventually cause that toenail to grow unnaturally.
 

While people tend to think of toenails as impermeable, they’re actually more permeable than skin.

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How to correct toenail problems

While toenail growth can be corrected in a number of ways, devices that draw the most attention clamp around the edges of the toe and lift the edges out of the nail folds, gradually correcting the nail’s growth. The nail brace was created in 1872 and requires no surgery or anesthesia. 

The downside is for some individuals it can take as long as 6 to 12 months to be effective. After nail growth has been corrected, improper trimming, constrictive footwear, or repeated actions can cause the problem to return. 

To permanently fix nail growth issues requires learning how to trim your nails, wearing properly fitting footwear, and refraining from activities that cause unnatural nail growth.

Toenail corrector kit tools

Toenail corrector: This contraption might look like a medieval torture device with its hooks and large center screw, but it’s the device that’s specifically designed to quickly reshape a toenail. It is used after soaking the foot in warm water to gently free the sides of the nail from the nail folds. Once straightened, the nail must be fully dry before removing the tool. Individuals have varying degrees of success with this device, often requiring the use of a longer-term toenail brace to more effectively correct the toenail’s growth. 

Toenail brace: This small metal band clamps over the toe like the toenail corrector and also gently pulls the edges of the nail out of the nail folds. The difference is this device is meant to be worn long-term.

Adhesive tape: Some toenail correction sets include adhesive tape that is applied over the toenail brace to help hold it in place for extended periods of time.

Toenail correction stickers: An alternative to the toenail corrector or toenail brace is a correction sticker. This thin, I-beam-shaped strip wraps around the front of the toe and under the edges of the nail to keep them from digging into the nail folds. Alternatively, there are smaller versions that are designed to be placed directly on the nail to pull the sides of the nail up in the same manner that anti-snoring strips open up nasal passages. These are best for less extreme corrections.

Nail cleaner: This is a tiny tool with a thin, spoon-like tip. Its purpose is to scoop out any dirt that has accumulated beneath the front edge of the toenail.

Cuticle pusher: Cuticles protect your nails. To keep your cuticles healthy, use this tool to gently push your cuticles back. It’s best to use this after a bath or shower when the skin is softened. Do not cut cuticles because this can lead to infection.

Nail clipper/nipper/scissors: If you don’t already own a nail clipper, nipper, or scissors, look for a toenail correction kit that has one or more of these devices. If you don’t keep your toenails properly trimmed, you’ll eventually wind up with problems. While most people use a nail clipper, nail scissors produce a cleaner cut. The next best option is a nail nipper because it’s a far more versatile tool than a clipper.

Nail file: A nail file is another important tool to have in a toenail correction kit. If the edges of your toenails aren’t smooth, they can more easily catch and tear, creating an opportunity for fungi and bacteria to get underneath the nail.

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Did You Know?
Not only can nail polish keep nails from receiving adequate levels of oxygen and create unhealthy toenails, but the chemicals used in nail polish can be absorbed into the body.
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Toenail correction tool prices

Inexpensive

For under $10, you can find a single toenail correction tool or a small selection of toenail tools. These tools may focus on one particular issue, such as ingrown toenails. You can find sets containing more tools, but they might not be the highest quality.

Mid-range

The widest selection falls in the $10 to $16 price range. Here you can find tools of decent quality and enough variety to treat and correct a number of common toenail growth issues.

Expensive

If you’re considering toenail correction tools that cost more than $20, make sure there is something that warrants the higher price. Most toenail correction tools are not pricey, so you should be able to find everything you need at the mid-range price.

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Did You Know?
Since fungi thrive in dark, warm, moist environments, it’s possible for infections to spread if you wear socks and shoes all day. This could cause nail growth issues in toes other than your big toe.
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Tips

The biggest defense against toenail issues is proper foot care. Good hygiene can prevent many problems from ever happening. Here are some tips that can help you take better care of your feet and toenails.

  • Trim your toenails. After trimming, file the edges to make them smooth.
  • Wash and dry your feet regularly. Remove calluses from clean feet with a pumice stone or foot file. Remove dirt under the nails with a nail cleaner.
  • Avoid fungal and bacterial infections. Don’t walk barefoot in public areas like bathrooms or locker rooms. Don’t borrow or share your toenail grooming and correction tools with others.
  • Inspect your toenails at least once a week.
  • Moisturize your feet regularly. Use a good-quality cream designed for feet.
  • Don’t wear constrictive footwear. Wear socks that absorb moisture and allow your feet and toes to breathe.
  • Change socks and shoes from day to day. Consider changing socks during the day too.
  • Give your toes a breather from nail polish. If you wear nail polish for a few weeks, go without polish for a few weeks to keep the nails healthy.
     
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One of the biggest reasons at-home nail treatment is unsuccessful is because it takes months of daily diligence to correct a growth problem and many people simply neglect caring for their toes over time.

FAQ

Q. What is an ingrown toenail?

A. When the edge or corner of a toenail (usually on the big toe) grows into the skin surrounding the nail, you have an ingrown toenail. You’ll likely first notice an ingrown toenail because it’s uncomfortable. The skin around the nail may be swollen, tender, red, or hard. As the condition advances, the pain will intensify, possibly making it hard to wear shoes or walk. The area surrounding the toenail may even begin to bleed or ooze pus. An ingrown toenail won’t go away on its own, so you must take action to remedy the situation. With the proper tools and procedures, most ingrown toenails can be treated at home.

Q. What causes an ingrown toenail?

A. There are many causes of ingrown toenails. The most common is improper cutting. Toenails should be trimmed straight across, never angling the sides because this encourages the nail to grow into the skin. Also, constrictive footwear, improper foot hygiene, or activities like soccer, football, or ballet can cause the toenail to grow into the surrounding skin. In some instances, ingrown toenails are hereditary.

Q. What causes toenails to thicken?

A. When toenails thicken and become discolored (onychomycosis), it’s most often due to fungus getting under the toenail through a crack in the nail or a cut in the skin that touches the toenail. Additionally, this can come about from an underlying health condition such as poor circulation or from something as simple as always wearing nail polish. The fungus starts out mild, growing in the moist area beneath the nail bed, but over time it can spread and cause the toenail to thicken and become discolored. 

Q. Why is my toenail growing upward?

A. Toenails that grow upward and curl could be the result of constrictive footwear, fungus, or a natural growth pattern. In some instances, it can be the result of an injury or medical condition. In minor cases, attention to proper hygiene and trimming is the best defense. In more pronounced cases, a doctor’s care may be required.

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