An ingrown toenail results in pain along the margins of the toenail.  They are often aggravated by wearing shoes, particularly those with narrow toes.  The toe may be sensitive to any pressure, even the weight of bed clothes.  There may be signs of infection and drainage of pus, or a watery discharged tinged with blood.



 Improper trimming of toenails.

 Tight fitting shoes which compress the toes together.

 Hose or socks that are too tight. 

 Abnormally shaped nail plate.  

 Other toenail deformities (E.G. excessively thick nail plate)

 Trauma to the nail plate or toe.

 Ingrown toenails are one of the more common foot problems treated by chiropodists and podiatrists. They can be very painful, with people limiting their activity to keep off their sore feet.

 Ingrown toenails are caused by impingement of the skin along the margins of the nail by the nail plate.  Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection.  Pain can be present without infection, and occasionally infection is present without pain. 


Signs of Infection

  redness (erythema)   swelling    increased warmth   pain


 Infection, if present, may spread to the foot and leg, or into the blood stream.

 Loss of nail plate from infection or inflammation of the nail bed.

Chronic ingrown nails can cause deformity of the nail plate and/or surrounding soft tissues.

 A small benign tumor called a granuloma can form along the nail margin.

 Diabetics and those with poor circulation to the feet must never attempt to treat an ingrown toenail at home.  Consult with a chiropodist, podiatrist or physician immediately.


Patients who suffer from ingrown toenails often require regular footcare treatments by a chiropodist or podiatrist.  Regular care is often enough to avoid problems.

Another option is a custom nail brace. This brace is applied to the nail to slightly lift the nail edge so that the curved edge may grow out straight.

 If the ingrown is chronic, some patients may require a partial nail avulsion procedure. This procedure removes the curved border of the nail and kills the root in the area. This procedure is often painless as the toe is put “to sleep” with a local anesthetic agent.   There is usually  minimal post-operative discomfort.  In fact many patients indicate they immediate feel relief.   The wound heals in about four to six weeks.  During this period it is simply dressed with topical antibiotics and gauze dressings.   After healing, the nail is normal in appearance, somewhat more narrow than before. 


What you can do

 Cut toenail straight across, and leave it slightly longer then the end of the toe.

 Avoid tight fitting foot wear.

 If discomfort develops try soaking the foot in a basin of warm water two or three times a day.

If you are a diabetic or have poor circulation the water should never be more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

 An infected ingrown nail requires prompt professional attention.  Contact your chiropodist or podiatrist immediately


Swollen, red, oozing, painful and pussy toenail? It's likely an infected ingrown toenail.

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