48. How to Deal with Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail digs into the skin next to the side of a nail. The most common site is the big toe. Symptoms are pain, tenderness, redness, and possibly an infection. Other toes and fingernails can be affected.

Possible causes include:

  1. Clipping toenails too short. This can cause the corners to penetrate the skin as the nails grow out.

  2. Jamming your toes by making sudden stops, especially while playing sports like tennis or basketball.

  3. Wearing tight-fitting shoes or socks.

  4. Having wider-than-average toenails.

Home remedies for a painful ingrown toenail include these steps.

  1. Soak your foot in hot, soapy water three to four times a day.

  2. Gently lift the nail away from the reddened skin at the outer corners with the tip of a nail file.

  3. Place a small piece of cotton soaked in an antiseptic just under the outer corners, if possible.

  4. Repeat the previous three steps daily until the nail begins to grow correctly and pressure is relieved. (Wear roomy shoes during this time.)

If the toenail edges become red and tender, fill with pus, or otherwise appear infected, see a doctor.

If home treatment fails to work, a physician or podiatrist may have to surgically remove the troublesome portion of the nail or possibly the entire nail.

To prevent ingrown toenails, cut nails straight across. Don’t cut the nails shorter at the sides than in the middle.

Note: Anyone who has diabetes or circulatory problems needs to be very careful to avoid infections of the feet. Trim nails carefully or have them trimmed by a medical professional to avoid nicking the skin or fostering an ingrown nail.

Chapter 1
  1. Fast Relief for Everyday Health Problems