Signs and Symptoms
Pain, swelling, or redness on one or both sides of the toenail, usually on the big toe.
What to do now
1. Trim the excess nail, and put a strip of sterile cotton under the corner of the nail to lift it away from the skin. Change the cotton daily until the nail grows out.
2. If there’s redness, clean the area with hydrogen peroxide, then apply an antibacterial first-aid cream. Cover the nail with a bandage. Soak your foot in warm water or apply a warm compress if your toe aches from the ingrown nail.
3. If it hurts a lot, take a painkiller.
When to call a doctor
1. If redness or swelling around the nail is accompanied by severe pain or discharge.
2. If you have diabetes and an ingrown toe nail becomes infected.
How to prevent it
1. Always cut your toenails straight across using nail clippers, and leave enough so some of the white nail are at the end still shows. If your nails are very hard, soften them by soaking your feet first.
2. Wear comfortable shoes (you should be able to wiggle your toes).
3. When you buy new shoes, do it at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest (they tend to swell during the day).
4. Avoid pointed shoes.
5. Don’t expect to break in new shoes that pinch. They should be comfortable when you try them on.