Ingrown toenails are caused by trauma to the nail, cutting the nails too short, or wearing too-tight shoes. The pain is caused by a sharp part of the nail that grows into your skin. Don’t ignore it. Ingrown nails can lead to infection, causing extreme pain and pus.
To prevent ingrown toenails, cut the nails straight across — never round the edges.
Treat an ingrown toenail by soaking it in warm soapy water for 15 minutes twice a day. After the skin has softened, gently lift the embedded part of the nail and apply over-the-counter bacitracin antibiotic ointment. If possible, wear open-toe shoes until it heals.
Contact your doctor if the pain and redness persists for more than 3 days, or if you have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes. (You actually could lose a toe.) If you have recurrent ingrown toenails, then see a doctor to remove a section of the nail, preventing further problems.
Photo credit: FCC, hoyasmeg.