Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of your toenail grows into the skin surrounding it. This can cause pain, swelling, and redness around the nail. Treatment options include soaking your foot in warm water with Epsom salt, wearing comfortable shoes with a wide toe box, and in severe cases, surgery.
Ingrown toenails can be prevented by following some simple tips:
- Trim your toenails straight across, rather than rounding off the corners (as you would with your fingernails). Use a toenail clipper (which is wider and larger than a fingernail clipper) or, if you use scissors, cut the nail in several short movements 1.
- Wear comfortable shoes that fit well. Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose 2.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing, especially between the toes 3.
- Wear socks made of natural materials such as cotton or wool, which allow your feet to breathe 3.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pools and locker rooms 3.
If you have an ingrown toenail that is causing you pain or discomfort, it’s important to seek medical attention. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for your situation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part or all of the toenail.