Ingrown toenails can be caused by a number of things. The most common cause is wearing ill-fitting shoes. If your toenails are constantly squeezed in closed shoes that are not roomy enough, you are likely to develop ingrown toenails. Shoes that are a little too loose can also lead to the problem. You will have to apply undue pressure on the toes in order to walk right every time you wear large shoes. This pressure forces the nail to dig into the skin on the toe.
An ingrown toenail can also be as a result of trimming the nail the wrong way. Nails should be trimmed straight, not round. If you trim the edge of your nails round, you increase chances of the nail curling downwards and digging into the skin. Stubbing your toe or getting any other toe injury can also lead to an ingrown toenail. Minor toe and foot deformities such as having very large toes or nails that naturally curve downwards can also lead to ingrown toenails.
The most obvious sign of an ingrown toenail is that the nail seems to grow underneath the skin. The skin around the nail will become firm, inflamed or red and may be tender or painful to touch. Ingrown toenails can be easily treated at home, however, complicated ingrown toenails condition should be checked by a qualified physician. Soak your feet in warm water at least 3 or 4 times a day, keeping the toe completely dry the rest of the time. Massage the swollen area gently. Wet a piece of cotton with antiseptic and apply under the affected nail. Sometimes trimming the toenails can aggravate the situation, especially if you do not do it right. Visit your doctor, dermatologist or podiatrist for further treatment, which may include removing part of the nail if the problem keeps recurring.