An ingrown toenail occurs when the corners of a nail curl downward and grow into the skin on the edge of the toe, causing pain and swelling.
The most common cause of ingrown toenail is improper trimming of the nail. Rounding off the nail or cutting it too short can make it easier for skin around the toe to rise and envelop the nail. Wearing tight shoes or engaging in activities that put excessive pressure on the toes can also cause a toenail to become ingrown.
Pain, swelling and redness around the affected area are the most common symptoms. An ingrown toenail may also become infected if untreated. In this case, a strong odor or drainage of pus around the swollen area may be noticed.
A common treatment option is soaking the foot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, then placing dry cotton under the corner of the nail. If the condition worsens, surgery may be required to remove the part of the nail that is growing underneath the skin.