Common causes are improper nail care and pressure or injury to the toes. This can make the nail curve and grow into the skin.
Ingrown toenails are more common in people with family members who have them. Other things that may raise the chance of an ingrown toenail are:
- Improper cutting or trimming of the toenail
- Footwear that is too tight
- Repeated pressure or injury to the toes, often during sports
- Toenail fungus infections
- Turner syndrome
Ingrown toenails may not cause symptoms at first. When symptoms occur, they may include:
- Pain—sometimes severe
Treatment depends on how severe the ingrown toenail is. It also depends on if the person has other health problems. Medical care is needed for those who have:
- An ingrown toenail that is severe, worsening, or not getting better
- Circulation problems
- Problems with the immune system
- Other chronic health problems
People over 50 years of age should also talk to their doctor. General treatment options include:
It may help to:
- Wear open-toed shoes or sandals. This reduces pressure on the toenail.
- Soak the foot in warm water. Dry it thoroughly.
Medical care may include:
- Antibiotic cream or ointment
- A splint to lift the corner of the nail from the skin
- Surgery to remove the ingrown part of the toenail
If ingrown toenails happen often, or the ingrown toenail is severe, the doctor may:
- Remove part of the toenail and apply medicine. This will stop that part of the nail from growing back.
- Remove the entire toenail. This will stop the entire nail from growing back.
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.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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