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Causes and Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail

There is no mistaking the pain from an ingrown toenail. The big toe is typically affected, and it can be difficult to wear shoes. An ingrown toenail can develop when it grows into the skin instead of over it, and the pain can cause prompt medical attention to be sought. Symptoms that are associated with an ingrown toenail can include severe tenderness, swelling, and the toe may become red. The most common reason to develop this ailment is from wearing shoes that are too tight, followed by trimming the nails incorrectly. Additionally, it may happen from a toe injury, or if the nails are naturally curved. Soaking the affected foot in warm water may temporarily bring mild relief. This often makes it easier to push the nail away from the skin using a piece of cotton. Ingrown toenails can become infected. It is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can effectively treat this condition before it becomes more serious. 

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot Surgery Specialists of Texas. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.


  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.


Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.


Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in River Oaks and Sharpstown in Houston, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care

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