Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
An ingrown toenail can make a big, burly guy wince and hobble
like a wounded puppy. A toenail that digs into surrounding skin
(usually on the big toe) can cause pain, tenderness, redness, and
Possible causes include:
toes by making sudden stops, especially while playing sports like
too far back, so that the corners penetrate the skin as they grow
Being born with
Home remedies for a painful ingrown toenail include these
Soak your foot
in hot, soapy water three to four 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 just under the outer
comers, if possible.
previous three steps daily until the nail begins to grow
correctly and pressure is
relieved. (Wear roomy
shoes during this period.)
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.