Problem: Ingrown Toenails
"Pain in the corners of your nail, where you feel the nail digging into the soft tissue around it, is likely an ingrown nail," DeSantis says. "It hurts, and may have puss and redness." Contrary to popular belief, ingrown nails are not caused by letting the nail grow too long, but by cutting it too short, which causes the new nail to grow into the skin around it, rather than on top of it.
The Solution: In serious cases, a podiatrist is your best bet to rid yourself of the painful nail. "We're able to cut down the side of the nail and narrow the nail plate," DeSantis explains. (Do not try this at home.) If you are seeking D.I.Y. relief, "soak your feet in warm water and Epson salts, then apply an antiseptic and bandage the toe temporarily — sometimes the ingrown part will work itself out," DeSantis says. When you trim your toenails, always leave a small sliver — say, 1/8 an inch — of the white tip showing. Also, use clippers specifically for toenails, which are larger and sturdier than fingernail clippers. Choose ones that have a round shape to the cutter (check out Seki Edge Stainless Steel Toenail Clipper, $17.25, sekiedge.com). These will follow the natural curve of your nail better than flat-edge clippers, which may cut deeper into the corners than you intended. After using, sterilize clippers with rubbing alcohol.