Ingrown toenails are usually a big-toe problem. A thick, sharp nail starts growing into the tender skin at the corner of the nail, cutting the skin as it grows. The incised area becomes red, painful, and vulnerable to infection. Some people have toenails that just naturally grow in ways that set the stage for this problem. But there are other contributing factors—wearing tight shoes or socks, for instance, or trimming toenails improperly. And you’re more likely to have ingrown toenails if you have the structural irregularities known as bunions or hammertoes.
What you can do for an ingrown toenail
• Fill a large basin with about two gallons of hot water. Add several spoonfuls of salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Soak your problem foot for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Hot water softens the skin around the ingrown nail while the salt helps combat infection and reduces swelling.
• After you’ve soaked your feet, wash off the salt with warm, soapy water, rinse and let your feet dry.
• Put on a clean pair of socks every day. While you can’t keep feet completely germ-free, you reduce the risk of infection if you keep them as clean as possible.
From 1,801 Home Remedies (Reader’s Digest)