Ingrown toenails typically start when a nail, usually the one on the big toe, grows or is pushed into the soft, tender tissue alongside it. People whose toes are somewhat convex are more susceptible, but anyone can get one. Athletes who spend a lot of time in tight shoes or who put a lot of pressure on their toes with explosive movements are prime candidates for ingrown nails.
While they arise mostly as the result of improper cutting, ingrown nails can also be caused by any number of accidents or heavy use, such as in long-distance running. Stubbing your toe can also cause them, as can dropping a heavy object on your toe.
It’s important to address ingrown nails quickly. Trying to ignore them will only lead to more pain while running, changing direction or jumping—basically, all the things an athlete needs his or her feet for. If the area becomes infected, you’ll have a serious problem. But most ingrown nails can be taken care of with the home-based remedies listed here. Try an over-the-counter product. Many products will help soften the skin and the nail, and many of them have a soothing anti-inflammatory agent like tea tree oil or menthol. Dr. Scholl’s Ingrown Toenail Pain Reliever and Outgro Pain Relieving Liquid are examples. Read and follow the directions to the letter, and don’t use these types of products if you have diabetes, impaired circulation or any kind of infection.