What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails are the most common nail impairment, where the corners of the nail dig into the soft tissue of the nail groves. This leads to irritation redness and swelling. Generally the big toe is affected by this condition, however other toes can be affected as well. This is a serious ailment for individuals with impaired circulation, diabetes or other systemic diseases. Older adults are more prone to this condition since toenails tend to thicken with age, changing the curvature of the toenail causing ingrown toenails.


  • Pain and tenderness in your toe and along the nail bed
  • Redness around the toenail
  • Swelling around the toenail
  • Infection of the tissue around the toenail


  • Improperly trimmed nails
  • Injury
  • Thickening of toenails
  • Unusually curved toenails
  • Heredity
  • Shoe pressure and the crowding of toes
  • Repeated trauma to the feet
  • Poor foot structure


Treatment for ingrown toenails can range from conservative methods to surgery. For individuals suffering from diabetes or PAD, see a podiatric physician immediately. If ingrown nails are a chronic problem, your podiatrist can perform a procedure to permanently prevent ingrown nails.


  1. The American Podiatric Medical Association