Tuesday, 16 April 2024 00:00

How Ingrown Toenails Develop

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail, most commonly on the big toe, grows into the surrounding skin. This can lead to pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes infection. This common foot issue can be caused by improper nail trimming, like cutting the nails too short or not straight across. Tight-fitting shoes that press the nail into the toe skin, injury to the toenail, or genetics that predispose someone to curved nails can also contribute to ingrown toenail development. Ingrown toenails can be a cause for concern, especially if they happen frequently or lead to severe pain and infection. If not properly treated, the infection can spread and pose serious health risks, particularly for people with diabetes or poor circulation. Early treatment and certain preventive measures, like proper nail care and wearing appropriately fitting shoes, can help avoid complications. If you have an ingrown toenail, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist for professional treatment and prevention of further issues.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. John R. Northrup of Superior Foot, Ankle & Wound Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

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.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in St. Augustine, and Palm Coast, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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