Ingrown Toenail

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

December 13, 2018

March 06, 2020

Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown Toenail

What is Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is observed when the corner of a nail grows into the adjacent skin. Your big toe is most prone to an ingrown toenail. If the ingrown nail breaks into the skin, bacteria may enter and cause infection with foul odour and drainage.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The following are early stage symptoms:

  • The skin adjacent to the nail becomes tender and swollen
  • Pain is experienced when pressure is applied on the toe
  • Fluid accumulates around the toe

If the toe gets infected, the symptoms may be as follows:

What are the main causes?

Ingrown toenails mostly occur in those with sweaty feet. A list of causes for ingrown toenail are:

  • Footwear that exerts pressure on the big toe
  • Injury to the toenail, such as stabbing of the toe or falling of a heavy object on the toe
  • Irregular and curved toenail
  • Improperly cut toenail
  • Poor feet hygiene
  • Occasionally, inheritance of the tendency of an ingrown toenail

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Usually, your doctor can diagnose the ingrown toenail on physical examination. Sometimes, an x-ray may be needed to check for the extent of the nail grown into the skin.

Home care treatment includes:

  • Soaking the feet in warm water 3-4 times a day
  • Keeping the feet dry for the rest of the day
  • Wearing comfortable shoes
  • Taking analgesics to relieve pain

If there is no improvement in 2-3 days, it is advised to consult a doctor. In case of an infected ingrown toenail, the doctor will surgically remove part of the nail, nail bed, and surrounding soft tissue.

Most people experience minimal pain after the surgery and can resume their routine the following day.



  1. Orthoinfo [internet]. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont IL. Ingrown Toenail.
  2. National Health Service [Internet] NHS inform; Scottish Government; Ingrown toenail.
  3. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. [Internet]. Chicago, IL; Ingrown Toenail.
  4. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. [Internet]. Rosemont, IL; Looking for help with a foot or ankle problem?.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Ingrown toenail.
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