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Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredIngrown nails occur most often in toenails, especially in the big toe. They usually result from cutting the nail too short, causing a sharp edge that turns into the skin around the toe. This can lead to swelling, redness, and pain. Wearing tight shoes can worsen ingrown nails. To prevent ingrown toenails, wear comfortable shoes with wide rounded tips, and clip and file your toenails straight across so they are slightly longer than the end of your toe. Treat minor ingrown nails by soaking them in warm water mixed with Epsom salts to soften the skin around the nail. Gently push the skin away from the nail with a soft cloth. Apply a small piece of sterile cotton underneath the nail to help guide nail growth away from the skin. Applying a small amount of antibiotic ointment may also soothe the area and lessen risk of infection. If the area becomes more painful, red, or swollen, or you notice a pus-like discharge, see your doctor.
Ingrown toenails can be very painful and can even become infected. There are a few ways to care for ingrown toenails.
1) routine trimming and filing of nails.
2) wearing shoes that avoid irritating the toenails.
3) permanent removal of the edge of the nail.
If it is something that has been an ongoing battle, it is worth seeing a podiatrist to treat the nail, particularly if it becomes infected (red, swollen, or drainage from the nail edge). Sometimes the shape of the toenail can change if there is toenail fungus or consistently wearing tight socks that irritate the nail.