Ingrown Toenail: What are the Common Causes

by allurewellness
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When the edges or the corners of the nail will grow into the skin, a condition known as ingrown toenail develops.

In most cases, given that there is no infection, ingrown toenail will often respond to home remedies.

However, when the toenail has pierced the skin or when the affected toe has become infected, ingrown toenail surgery might be recommended.

Unfortunately, those with diabetes and other medical conditions that will cause poor circulation are at a higher risk for ingrown toenail complications.


Ingrown toenail can be attributed to a lot of causes, some of which include the following:

  • Irregular and curved toenails
  • Toenails that are cut straight across
  • Injuries
  • Lack of foot hygiene
  • Footwear that put pressure on the big toes
  • Socks and stockings that are too tight may also lead to ingrown toenail


Ingrown toenail can be very excruciating.

In some cases, it can get infected when left unattended.

That being said, treating it the soonest possible time is recommended.

In the early stages, common symptoms that will develop can include:

  • Pain when pressure is put on the affected area
  • Tenderness and swelling of the skin that is next to the nail infected
  • Noticeable fluid buildup around the toe affected

Once the affected toe becomes infected, some of the symptoms that will manifest may include:

  • Swelling and redness
  • Pus
  • Pain
  • Skin overgrowth
  • Bleeding


In many cases, the condition can be diagnosed through physical examination.

However, once the affected toe becomes infected, an X-ray might be recommended.

An X-ray may also be necessary when:

  • Pain becomes severe
  • The condition was caused by an injury
  • Patient has a history of chronic infection


If there is no infection, home remedies are often enough.

However, if signs of infection manifest or if the toenail has pierced the skin, seeking medical attention would be recommended.

Home Remedies

Treatment of ingrown toenail at home can involve:

  • Soaking the feet in warm water at least 3 to 4 times each day
  • Pushing the skin from the toenail edge using cotton balls that are soaked in olive oil
  • Using over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen to help alleviate the pain
  • Applying topical antibiotic to help combat infection

Surgical Treatment

In case the condition will not respond to home remedies, an ingrown toenail surgery will be the recommended treatment alternative.

Nail and tissue removal – if the condition has manifested more than once, removing the underlying tissue or the nail bed as well as a portion of the nail will be done. This is done to ensure the nail’s affected part will no longer grow back.

Partial nail removal – if symptoms like pus, pain, swelling, and redness will manifest, the doctor will likely remove or trim a portion of the nail. An anesthetic will be given to numb the affected toe before the procedure is carried out.

After Surgery

After the procedure, patients will be sent home with a bandaged toe.

Raising the foot for at least a day or two after the surgery will be likely recommended.

On the second day, the bandage is often removed.

Patients will also be instructed to wear open-toed shoes for the time being.

Saltwater soaks may also be prescribed until the toe heals.

Painkillers will be given to ease the pain and antibiotics will be given to keep any infection from developing.


In order to prevent ingrown toenail from developing, the following tips should be kept in mind:

  • Make sure the nails are trimmed straight across and the edges are not curved in
  • Refrain from trimming the nails too short
  • Wear footwear, socks, and stockings that fit properly
  • When working in a hazardous environment, protect the feet by wearing steel-toed boots

If you have a problem with ingrown toenail, visit for appropriate help with the management and treatment of the condition.

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