Ingrown toenails, medically known as onychocryptosis, are a common condition in podiatry care where the corner or side of a toenail grows into the flesh of the toe. This often results in pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes infection.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

  • Improper Trimming: Cutting toenails too short or not straight across can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.
  • Tight Footwear: Shoes that are too tight can compress the toes and push the nail to grow abnormally.
  • Injury: Stubbing your toe or having an object fall on it can cause the nail to grow improperly.
  • Genetics: Some people are predisposed to ingrown toenails because of the natural shape of their nail beds.
  • Poor Posture: Abnormal standing or walking habits can increase pressure on the toes.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

  • Tenderness: The skin next to the nail becomes tender, possibly hardening over time.
  • Swelling: The toe can swell and feel warm to the touch.
  • Pain: The pressure of the nail growing into the skin creates discomfort or sharp pain.
  • Infection: The toe may become infected, indicated by pus and red streaks on the skin.


Podiatry care for ingrown toenails involves:

  • Self-Care: Soaking the foot in warm water, placing cotton under the nail, and applying topical antibiotics.
  • Medical Treatment: A podiatrist may trim or remove the affected part of the nail. In severe cases, nail surgery may be necessary.
  • Preventive Care: Recommendations on proper nail cutting, footwear choice, and foot hygiene are provided to prevent recurrence.

Persistent or recurrent issues with ingrown toenails should be addressed by a healthcare professional or a podiatrist to ensure proper treatment and to prevent complications.