There are many risk factors that can predispose a person to this common condition. Cutting your nails too short, participating in sports, diabetes, being overweight, or having a fungal infection of the toe can all cause an ingrown toenail. The condition can often be related to genetics, as many people are genetically predisposed to ingrown nails. More often than not, the problem can arise from wearing ill-fitting shoes or from shoes that keep the feet slightly damp.
To prevent ingrown toenails, allow your toenails to grow a little longer and avoid cutting them too short. If you do develop an ingrown nail, soaking the toe in hot water will help prevent infection and lessen pain. You may want to add antibiotic soap or Epsom salts to the water, which will provide further protection against infection.
There are many quick treatments available for ingrown toenails that can lessen pain and have you walking with comfort. If your pain is so severe that it keeps you from everyday activities, however, a visit with your podiatrist is necessary.