Monday, 07 December 2020 00:00

What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

The painful condition that is known as an ingrown toenail can occur from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. Additional reasons why ingrown toenails develop can include genetic factors or if the toenail is improperly trimmed. The nail becomes ingrown as the outer edges of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, and this generally causes severe pain and discomfort. It may also become red and inflamed and it can be difficult to wear certain shoes. Patients may find mild relief when the affected toe is soaked in warm water, which can soften the skin to make it easier to gently lift the nail away. In severe cases the nail may become infected, and partial or total removal may be a necessary option to consider. If you have an ingrown toenail please confer with a podiatrist who can determine what the best course of treatment is for you.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Paul Potach, DPM of Illinois . Our doctor 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 our offices located in Wheeling and Berwyn, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care

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