An ingrown toenail is a painful foot condition in which the edge of the nail cuts into the flesh, this condition occurs most frequently in the big toe and may affect one or both sides of the nail. Initially it may only cause a little discomfort but as the nail grows deeper into the flesh the toe usually becomes infected and very painful. The skin becomes irritated, red, shiny and swollen with a throbbing pain and the toe is painful to touch. Certainly the first line of defense for this condition is good fitting shoes. Nail softeners can be used to help the nail from piercing the skin thus easing the pain. If the condition is painful enough and non-responsive to conservative treatment, then surgical correction is indicated. An ingrown toenail is a serious condition for people with impaired circulation, diabetes or other systemic diseases.