1. Soak Your Toe
To relieve the soreness, soak your foot in a bucket of warm (not hot) water mixed with a tablespoon or two or Epsom salt. Leave your foot soaking for about five to ten minutes. Soak once or twice a day for the best results.
2. Apply Ointment
If your nail has already broken the skin, or is close to doing so, apply antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, to prevent infection. It is best to apply the ointment after you have soaked the foot as outlined above. Make sure to cover the toenail properly after applying the ointment. If you will be wearing open-toed shoes, make sure to apply a bandage to keep the toenail safe from infection.
3. Don’t Play the Surgeon
Do not try to take the toenail out. By playing with it, you risk infection in the nail and skin. If the nail is deep enough down, you may need to see a podiatrist. If the nail is still very painful, place a small piece of cotton under the nail to help raise it off the skin.
4. Trim Your Nails Properly
This is the first step in preventing ingrown toenails. When you are trimming your toenails, get in the habit of cutting them straight across and not in curved shapes. If the corners of the nail are too sharp, file them down with a nail file. Also, make sure that you don’t cut your nails too short. When you stand up, the weight of your body places pressure on your feet, which pushes up the skin in front of the toenail, producing an ingrown toenail.
5. Wear the Right Socks
It is more important than you think to wear the right socks. If the nail has already cut into the skin, wear only white socks. This is because the color dyes used in hosiery and colored socks can run and leak into the wound, causing further complications especially if you are allergic or sensitive to dyes.
6. Buy New Shoes
An ingrown toenail may be a sign that you need new shoes. Make sure that you buy shoes that fit you well, which do not pinch your toes. For women, it is best to avoid high heels because this will exacerbate the wound. If you must, wear a lower heel so that you are not putting so much pressure on your toes.
7. Wear Sandals
If your ingrown toenail has already progressed and it is very painful, try wearing sandals for a few days if you can. This will give your toe the room it needs to heal.