This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
This, which is commonly called "the growth of the nail into the flesh," is a very common and very troublesome complaint. Instead, however, of the nail growing into the flesh, the flesh has been squeezed by tight boots on to the nail; and the soft part of the great toe is usually swelled and inflamed by the constant pressure against its edge. If this state be permitted to increase, suppuration occurs, and an ulcer is formed with fungous and exquisitely sensitive granulations, in which the edge of the nail is embedded, and which often produces so much pain as totally to prevent walking.
In most cases, if the nail having been well softened by soaking in warm water, is shaved as thin as possible with a sharp knife or a fine file, the pain and irritation may easily be allayed by rest for a day or two, with leeches to the inflamed part, followed by poultices; and then any ulcer that has formed will soon heal. But, if the case is more obstinate, the edge of the nail must be removed. In order to effect a cure, however, the patient must always wear loose shoes.