Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows into the flesh rather than over it. Anyone can develop ingrown toenails, as one of the leading causes of ingrown toenails is simply cutting your toenails too short. People with curved or thick toenails are also likely to develop ingrown toenails.

Symptoms, Causes and Common Treatments

Ingrown Toenails


  • Pain between the toenail and the flesh of the toe


  • Cutting toenails too short
  • Curved or thick toenails
  • Congenital large toenails
  • Injury or trauma to the toe
  • Repeated pounding of the feet as in running
  • Ingrown toenails can develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition is congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People who have curling toes, either from genetics or diseases like arthritis, are also prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails. Not taking care of your toenails could result in ingrown toenails. Prevention of ingrown toenails is the key. The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes can only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry point for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, your doctor can provide treatment for the infection via the use of sterile instruments and antibiotics.

Common Treatments

  • Soak the feet in warm salt water
  • Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel
  • Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area
  • Bandage the toe
  • Wear shoes that are long enough with a deep toe box or open-toed sandals.
  • See a doctor if the condition does not improve

Find your local store to speak to a Foot Solutions Expert

Book an Appointment
Image of woman in Foot Solutions store

Foot Solutions Products

  • Digital toe caps
  • Properly fitted shoes
Foot Solution Consultation with patient