Ingrown Toenail (Onychocryptosis)

  • Medical Author:
    Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sign of an Infected Ingrown Toenail

Drainage of Pus

Drainage of pus is a typical consequence of a bacterial infection. Bacterial infection can either be localized, such as an infection of a small cut or wound in the skin, or it may spread to involve larger areas of the body.

Quick GuideNail Color and Texture: What Nails Say About Your Health

Nail Color and Texture: What Nails Say About Your Health

Ingrown toenail facts

  • An ingrown toenail is a common condition often seen in the big toenail.
  • Athletes commonly suffer from ingrown toenails.
  • Improper shoe gear and toe injuries are frequently associated with ingrown toenails.
  • It is not unusual for an ingrown toenail to recur unless treated appropriately.
  • Conservative treatments include soaks, elevation, and good foot hygiene. Medical treatment is not always required. Oral antibiotics are sometimes required as a treatment if infection is present. Sometimes minor toenail surgery is required.

What are ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail is caused by the pressure from the ingrowth of the nail edge into the skin of the toe. Once the edge of the nail breaks through the skin, it produces inflammation. Initially presenting as a minor discomfort, it may progress into an infection in the adjacent skin (cellulitis) and/or become a reoccurring problem. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the large (great) toes. An ingrown toenail is medically referred to as onychocryptosis.

What causes ingrown toenails?

The main causes of an ingrown toenail are improper trimming of the toenail, an inherited or hereditary condition, and improper shoe fitting. Injury by overly aggressive pedicures and nail picking are also common causes. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 11/18/2015
References

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