I is for Ingrown Toenail

June 1, 2023

An ingrown toenail is a very common painful problem with the foot. It is due to a combination of the natural shape of the nail and a poor nail cutting technique.

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, usually causing pain, inflammation, and sometimes infection. It most commonly affects the big toe but can occur in any of the toes.


  1. Improper nail trimming: Cutting the nails too short, rounding the edges, or cutting them at an angle can encourage the nail to grow into the surrounding skin.
  2. Tight footwear: Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can exert pressure on the toes and contribute to the development of ingrown toenails.
  3. Trauma or injury: Stubbing the toe or experiencing repetitive trauma to the toe can lead to an ingrown toenail.
  4. Genetic predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing ingrown toenails.


  1. Pain and tenderness along the side of the affected toenail.
  2. Redness, swelling, and inflammation around the nail.
  3. Increased sensitivity to touch or pressure.
  4. Formation of a small, fluid-filled blister or abscess in severe cases.
  5. Infection: If the skin around the ingrown toenail becomes infected, it may result in increased pain, warmth, pus discharge, and an unpleasant odor.

Treatment and Prevention:

  1. Soaking the foot in warm water: Soaking the affected foot in warm water a few times a day can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  2. Proper nail trimming: Cut the nails straight across and avoid rounding the edges. Do not cut the nails too short.
  3. Wearing proper footwear: Choose comfortable shoes that provide adequate space for the toes and avoid tight-fitting shoes.
  4. Using protective measures: If you have recurring ingrown toenails or engage in activities that increase the risk, such as sports, you may use protective padding or orthotic devices to alleviate pressure on the toes.
  5. Seeking professional care: In cases of severe or recurrent ingrown toenails, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist. They can provide appropriate treatment, such as nail trimming, lifting the ingrown edge, or partial removal of the nail. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to permanently remove the ingrown portion of the nail.
  6. Avoid self-treatment: It is generally not recommended to attempt self-treatment of severe or infected ingrown toenails as it can lead to further complications.


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