An ingrown toenail is a painful condition in which the nail grows or cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed.
If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if your toe isn't painful, red, swollen, or warm, an ingrown toenail can develop for various reasons. In many people, the tendency to have this common disorder is inherited. In other cases, an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. Cutting your nails too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. Another cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are tight or short.
Home treatment is strongly discouraged if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have a medical condition that puts your feet at high risk—for example, diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.
In extreme circumstance nail surgery will be required. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day.