Soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in warm water. Keep any bubbles or bath salts out of the water -- the goal here is just to soften the skin around the toenail. This should also help relieve some of the pain of the ingrown nail. Do this three to four times a day to help soften the skin that's covering the nail.
Put a little piece of wet cotton underneath the ingrown edge of the nail after taking your foot out of the warm water. This will help gently lift the nail up so it'll grow out of your skin instead of growing into it.
Massage the skin around the toenail. You don't want to press down too hard on the inflamed area, since that will just irritate the skin even more. Gentle massage, however, helps relieve the pain and loosens the skin.
Dry your toe off with a towel. Until you soak your foot next time, make sure that your toe stays completely dry.
Rub some antibiotic ointment on the nail and the inflamed skin. This kills any bacteria that might get into the wound and cause a nasty infection. Bandage the nail up to keep it protected.
Wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes to wiggle around. That means for the time being you'll need to put those pointy-toed stilettos back in the closet. If possible, wear flip-flops until your nail completely heals.
You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to take the edge off the pain associated with an ingrown nail.
Avoid ingrown toenails in the future by cutting your toenails straight across and limiting the amount of time you wear constrictive shoes.
If the problem doesn't go away after a few days or you see signs of infection, get your butt to a doctor ASAP.
Don't try to tend to your own ingrown toenail if you have diabetes, poor blood circulation, nerve damage or an infection. You need to see a doctor to have this treated.