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Ingrowing Toenails - Onychocryptosis

Ingrowing Toenails. - Onychocryptosis#

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a foot condition that develops when the corner of your toenail grows down into your skin. It usually affects your big toe, but it can affect any of your toes.

The condition often happens when people cut their toenails by rounding (tapering) the corner of their nails. If the toenail curves with the shape of your toe, it can grow into your skin. Ingrown toenails are common and don’t usually pose a health risk to healthy people.

Who is likely to have an ingrown toenail?

Anyone can get an ingrown toenail. People at a higher risk include adolescents, athletes and people who have:


How common are ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem. Two out of every 10 people who see their healthcare provider for a foot issue go in for this condition.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails can have many causes. These may include:

  • Incorrectly cut toenails. If you cut your toenail too short or rounded, the nail may grow into your skin.

  • Improperly fitting shoes.

  • Tearing the corner of your nail.

  • Toe trauma, such as banging your toe or getting stepped on.

  • Your toe shape. For instance, if your nail is larger comparatively with your toe, or the surrounding tissue of the nail border naturally grows around your nail.


What does an ingrown toenail look like?

An ingrown toenail grows into the skin around your nail bed. You may see redness and swelling around that area of your toe.

What are the symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail?

A mild ingrown toenail can feel hard and swollen. If the nail grows into your skin, or the skin grows over your nail edge, bacteria can enter. The nail may become infected. Infected ingrown toenail symptoms may include:

  • Liquid or pus coming out of your toe.

  • Pain.

  • Redness or darkening of the area.

  • Swelling.

  • Toe feeling warm or hot.

What are the complications of ingrown toenails?

This foot condition usually doesn’t cause any complications in healthy people. You may develop an infection around your nail or scarring of your nail fold. In rare, chronic cases, an ingrown toenail infection can spread through your toe and into your bone.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed?

You can often diagnose the condition yourself, based on your symptoms and how your toe looks and feels.

Your healthcare provider (which may be your regular provider or a foot specialist called a podiatrist) will likely diagnose an ingrown toenail by inspecting it. They’ll examine the skin at the edge of your nail. They’ll diagnose you with this foot condition if the skin is:

  • Growing over your nail.

  • Swollen, tender, warm and red or darker in color.

  • Painful to light touch.

  • Looks different than your other toes.


What tests might I have for an ingrown toenail?

You typically don’t need any tests or X-rays to diagnose an ingrown toenail. In rare cases, when your toenail is severely infected, your healthcare provider might take a sample of the discharge or nail itself. They’ll run a bacteria culture test or sometimes a fungal culture to identify what’s causing the infection. You may need X-rays for more serious infections.


Ingrowing Toenails (Onychocryptosis) at different developmental stages 

IGTN 3.jpg
Established ingrowing toenail with recent sepsis
The sepsis (infection) has began to spread up into the main aspect of the toe.
Early reduction treatment is required.
Very established ingrowing toenail with associated progressive sepsis (infection).
The inflammation has become very red & shiny in appearance. Immediate intervention with oral antibiotics is advisable.
IGTN 4.jpg
Ingrowing toenail with excesssively established sepsis and immediate intervention required to release sepsis exudate. Intervention delay has allowed the sepsis (infection) to spread into the full body of the toe.
Immediate oral antibiotics is necessary. 
If the patient has Diabetes or is immune suppressed additional interventional treatment would be required. 

Ingrowing Toenails (Onychocryptosis) at different developmental stages 

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