5 min read

Ingrown Toenails: Everything you need to know.

Ingrown Toenails: Everything you need to know.


Having healthy and pain-free feet is essential for our overall well-being. However, certain foot conditions can cause discomfort and inconvenience. One such common condition is ingrown toenails. In this article, we will explore what ingrown toenails are, their causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures.

What are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edges or corners of the nails grow into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and possible infection. They commonly affect the big toe but can occur in any toe. Ingrown toenails can range from mild to severe cases, causing varying degrees of discomfort and mobility issues.

Causes and Risk Factors

  1. Incorrect Nail Trimming: Trimming the nails too short or rounding the edges can encourage the nails to grow into the skin.
  2. Tight-Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that squeeze or compress the toes can exert pressure on the nails, pushing them into the skin.
  3. Trauma or Injury: Stubbing your toe or repetitive trauma to the toenail area can increase the risk of ingrown nails.
  4. Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals inherit a tendency for curved or excessively thick nails, making them more prone to ingrown toenails.

Signs and Symptoms

The following signs and symptoms may indicate the presence of an ingrown toenail:

  1. Pain and Tenderness: Discomfort and sensitivity around the affected toenail, especially when pressure is applied.
  2. Redness and Swelling: Inflammation and redness of the surrounding skin, often accompanied by swelling.
  3. Infection: In severe cases, the ingrown toenail can become infected, leading to additional symptoms such as pus, drainage, and an unpleasant odor.

Home Remedies for Mild Cases

For mild cases of ingrown toenails, you can try the following home remedies:

  1. Warm Water Soaks: Soaking the affected toe in warm water for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation and soften the skin.
  2. Proper Nail Trimming Technique: Trim your nails straight across and avoid rounding the edges to prevent them from growing into the skin.
  3. Applying Antibiotic Ointment: Applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can reduce infection spreading.

4. Wear open  toe shoes: relieving the pressure off the toe will increase healing rates.

When to Seek Professional Treatment

While home remedies can be effective for mild cases of ingrown toenails, it is important to know when to seek professional treatment. Consider consulting a podiatrist if you experience:

  • Persistent pain and infection that does not improve with home care.
  • Pus or drainage from the affected toe.
  • Impaired mobility or difficulty walking.
  • Signs of spreading infection, such as red streaks or fever.

Professional Treatment Options

When professional treatment is necessary, a podiatrist can offer various options to alleviate the pain and resolve the ingrown toenail. These may include:

  1. Partial Nail Avulsion: This procedure involves removing a portion of the affected nail and the underlying nail bed to prevent further ingrowth. It is typically done under local anesthesia and has a high success rate in preventing recurrence.
  2. Nail Wedge Resection: In some cases, a wedge-shaped portion of the nail may be removed to relieve pressure and correct the ingrown toenail. This procedure is often performed under local anesthesia and may be combined with partial nail avulsion.
  3. Antibiotics for Infection: If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, your podiatrist may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to combat the infection. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the full course of medication.
  4. Prevention Strategies: Your podiatrist can provide guidance on proper nail trimming techniques, suitable footwear choices, and preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of future ingrown toenails.

Recovery and Aftercare

Following professional treatment, it is crucial to follow your podiatrist's instructions for a smooth recovery. Here are some general aftercare tips:

  • Keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection.
  • Protect the toe by wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding activities that put excessive pressure on the toes.
  • Follow the recommended follow-up appointments to monitor the healing progress and address any concerns.

Remember that everyone's healing process may vary, so it is essential to communicate with your podiatrist and seek their guidance if you experience any unexpected symptoms or complications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can ingrown toenails go away on their own?

In mild cases, ingrown toenails may resolve on their own with proper home care and preventive measures. However, recurrent or severe cases often require professional treatment for long-term relief.

How long does it take to recover from ingrown toenail surgery?

The recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment and whether there is an infectionn. In general, it may take 3-4 weeks for the toe to heal completely after surgery. Your podiatrist will provide specific aftercare instructions and timelines.

Can I prevent ingrown toenails from recurring?

Having a partial nail avulsion with phenolisation has a very high success rate, while it may not be possible to prevent ingrown toenails entirely, you can minimize the risk of recurrence by practicing proper nail trimming techniques, wearing comfortable and properly fitting shoes, and maintaining good foot hygiene.

Is it safe to treat ingrown toenails at home?

Home remedies can be effective for mild cases of ingrown toenails. However, if you have diabetes, circulation issues, or a compromised immune system, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before attempting any home treatments. They can assess your specific situation and provide appropriate guidance to ensure safe and effective care.

Are there any complications associated with ingrown toenails?

Yes, if left untreated or improperly managed, ingrown toenails can lead to complications. These may include infection, abscess formation, cellulitis (skin infection), and the formation of chronic wounds. It is crucial to seek professional care if you experience worsening symptoms or signs of infection.


Ingrown toenails can be a source of significant discomfort and inconvenience. Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and knowing when to seek professional treatment are essential for effective management and prevention. Whether opting for home remedies or professional intervention, taking proactive steps to address ingrown toenails can lead to improved foot health and overall well-being.

If you suspect you have an ingrown toenail or are experiencing persistent foot pain, it is recommended to consult a qualified podiatrist. They can provide a comprehensive assessment, offer appropriate treatment options, and guide you towards long-term solutions to alleviate your discomfort and maintain healthy feet.

If you found this blog post interesting, please subscribe to be the first person to hear about future blog posts.