Ingrown Toenail
(Onychocryptosis)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

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 commonly associated with ingrown toenails.
  • It is not uncommon for an ingrown toenail to recur.
  • Conservative treatments include soaks, elevation, and good foot hygiene. Medical treatment is not always required. Oral antibiotics are sometimes required as a treatment. 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 are the symptoms and signs of an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenail symptoms and signs include redness, pain, and swelling. Sometimes there may be a clear yellowish drainage, or if it becomes infected, pus drainage. Occasionally, ingrown toenails resolve without treatment. Painful, persistent, and recurring ingrown toenails should be treated by a podiatrist.

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 and nail picking are also common causes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/14/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Ingrown Toenail - Treatments Question: What home remedy treatments were effective for your ingrown toenail?
Ingrown Toenail - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with ingrown toenails.
Ingrown Toenail - Causes Question: What caused your ingrown toenails?
Ingrown Toenail - Doctors Question: What type of doctor did you see for your ingrown toenail?
Ingrown Toenail - Surgery Question: Did you have a surgical procedure for your ingrown toenail? Please share your story.
Ingrown Toenail - Prevention Question: If you're prone to ingrown toenails, how do you try to prevent a toenail trauma or injury?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!