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Dr. Frank Henry- Ingrown Toenails

Understanding Ingrown Toenails

Sep 28, 2022

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows out into surrounding skin, leading to pain and swelling. Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, and are caused by incorrectly cutting your nails, toenails growing out irregularly, ill-fitting footwear, improper foot hygiene, or the thickening of your nails. Avoid cutting your toenails in a curved shape by cutting straight across, invest in proper footwear that has enough room for the toes to wiggle, clean your feet often, and inspect your feet to understand why your toenails have thickened.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.


  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition


Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.


Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

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