An ingrown toenail is one that digs into surrounding skin (usually on the big toe). It can cause discomfort, pain, tenderness, and redness. Sometimes it gets infected.
Possible causes include:
- Jamming your toes by making sudden stops, especially while playing sports like tennis or basketball
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes or socks
- Clipping toenails too far back, so that the corners penetrate the skin as they grow out
- Having wider-than-average toenails
Home treatment generally is all that is needed for ingrown toenails. If home treatment fails to work, a physician or podiatrist may have to surgically remove the troublesome portion of the nail.
- Cut nails straight across. Don’t cut the nails shorter at the sides than in the middle.
- File the corners of the nail if they’re sharp after clipping them.
- -Wear shoes and socks that fit well.
Questions to Ask
Has your toenail shown any signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, and/or is it filled with pus?
Do you have diabetes mellitus or circulation problems?
Do you get ingrown toenails frequently?
Home remedies for a painful ingrown toenail include these steps:
- Soak your foot in warm, soapy water for 5-10 minutes, 1-3 times a day.
- Gently lift the nail away from the reddened skin at the outer corners with the tip of a nail file.
- Place a small piece of cotton soaked in an antiseptic or topical antibiotic, such as Neosporin, just under the outer corners, if you can.
- Repeat the previous 3 steps daily until the nail begins to grow correctly and pressure is relieved. (Wear roomy shoes during this time.)