Ingrown toenails occur when the side of the nail grows in towards the skin next to the toe or curls in towards the nail bed, rather than up. If you have an ingrown toenail, you'll often know it because of the distinct pain in the side of the toe where the toenail is growing in. Proper treatment of an ingrown toenail is important, as leaving it to grow the way that it is can not only be painful, it can be the cause for a number of other issues such as a change in your gait or a hindrance from activities.
Clipping the Nail
Clip the nail straight across, and continue to clip your nail this way to train your nail on how to grow again. Don't dig the nail out of the nail bed — simply cut it straight across. After a few weeks, the nail should begin to grow the correct way again. If it is still painful, other forms of treatment may be necessary.
Lifting the Nail
You may need to lift the nail out of place in order for the ingrown nail to grow correctly. To do this, you'll need some cotton and some dental floss. Take the floss and gently pull it beneath the ingrown nail, then lift it up enough to slide cotton beneath the ingrown nail. This is something that should be done by the podiatrist in office, as this may be painful and can also be difficult to maneuver on your own.
Removing the Nail
If your nails are growing in towards the nail bed and they are curling quite a bit, the nail may need to be completely removed. In order to remove the nail, it will need to be surgically removed to help your nail grow properly in place. The part of the nail growing in towards the nail bed is removed, exposing the nail bed below. The nail will need to be monitored to ensure it grows in properly. Your toe will be numbed so you don't feel any pain, and the nail is removed by the podiatrist. This is usually a procedure done in office and doesn't take long at all.
If you have an ingrown toenail, there are a few things that can be done to treat the issue. Talk to your podiatrist about your ingrown nails before attempting any at-home treatments on your own to prevent injury to yourself.