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Get to the "Foot" of it

InGrown Toenails! Don't do it yourself.

Alternative names   

Onychocryptosis; Unguis incarnatus


This is a condition in which the edge of the toenail grows into the skin of the toe.

Causes and risks    An ingrown toenail can result from curved toenails, poorly fitting shoes, or toenails that are trimmed improperly. The skin around the toenail may become red and infected. The great toe is usually affected, but any toenail can become ingrown. The condition may become serious in people with diabetes.


Wear shoes that fit properly. Trim toenails straight across the top and not too short. Finally, keep the feet clean and dry.


A possible symptom is pain, redness, and swelling around a toenail.

Signs and tests   

Examination of the foot is sufficient to diagnose an ingrown toenail.


A foot specialist (podiatrist) or skin specialist (dermatologist) may remove either part of the nail or the extra skin. Antibiotics, either topical (applied to a localized area of the skin) or oral, may be prescribed if infection is present. In recurrent cases, your doctor may permanently reshape your nail with chemicals or lasers.


Treatment is effective in controlling infection and relieving pain. The condition is likely to recur if preventive measures are not taken.


Infection may spread through the toe and into the bone in severe cases. This is a common problem with big complications in diabetics. Make your podiatrist appointment today!

Go to the Podiatrist Association website and locate a doctor in your area. Click here.