An ingrown toenail is a portion of the toenail curving into the flesh of the toe. The toenail then imbeds itself in the soft tissue. It can occur on any of the toes. However, it usually occurs on one of the big toes.
Trauma and improper nail care make the nail curve and overgrow into the flesh of the toe.
Ingrown toenails are more common in people with family members that have them.
Other factors that may increase the chances of an ingrown toenail:
Improper cutting or trimming of the toenail
Wearing footwear that is too tight
Repeated trauma to the toes, often due to sports activities
Fungal infections of the toenails
Ingrown toenails often do not cause symptoms at first. Eventually, the following symptoms may develop:
In almost all cases, you or your doctor can diagnose an ingrown toenail based on the location and the symptoms.
In rare cases, you may need an
x-ray. For example, if your doctor suspects an infection may have spread to the toe bone.
You may be able to treat an ingrown toenail yourself if you catch it early. If the condition gets worse or does not improve, you will need to seek medical care. If you have diabetes, you must seek medical attention for any infection or wound involving your feet or toes.
It may be possible to care for the ingrown toenail. Some of the following may help:
Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals to reduce any pressure on the toenail
Soaking the foot in warm water and drying it thoroughly
Promptly seek medical care for an ingrown toenail if you have any of the following conditions:
An ingrown toenail that is severe, worsening, or not getting better
Age: over 50 years
A disorder of your immune system
Any other chronic health problem
Medical care may be needed if the ingrown toenail does not respond to self-care. This may include:
Topical antibiotics, such as a cream or ointment
Using a splint to lift the corner of the nail away from the soft tissue of the toe
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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