If you’ve ever had a sharp pain in your foot, specifically in your toes, you hopefully don’t just ignore it until it gets worse. If the pain is around the edge of your toenails (usually the big toes), this pain is typically caused by an ingrown toenail. While each case is different, there are different levels of pain as to how severe the ingrown toenail is.

Luckily, there are ways that you can prevent ingrown toenails from happening most of the time. When you cannot prevent ingrown toenails, it’s usually due to genetics or health conditions. Let’s take a look at some ways to spot an ingrown toenail before it gets severe and what you can do about it

Person clipping toenails

What Are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails are usually painful because it occurs at the corner of the toe. The skin on the side of the toe begins growing over the top of your nail, or your toenail can also start growing downward into the skin. Which can become extremely painful.

Usually, this occurs on only one side of the toe, but in rare cases can occur on both sides at the same time. If you have diabetes, an ingrown toenail can become an even bigger issue if not taken care of sooner rather than later. 

What Are the Symptoms?

There are a few signs you can keep an eye out for to prevent an ingrown toenail from popping up and causing more pain than necessary:

  • Pain or Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Infection

If you notice the skin next to the toenail becoming red and/or tender to the touch, chances are it’s developing into an ingrown toenail. Seeking treatment early could protect you from a lot of pain down the road.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Different things may cause an ingrown toenail to form, whether a mild case or a more severe one. Here are some things that contribute to ingrown toenails:

  • Incorrect footwear - wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow around your toes, or shoes that are too big and your toes keep sliding and impacting the front of the shoe with every step can lead to nail and foot issues.
  • Improper nail trimming - if you cut your toenails too short and round them in the corners instead of straight across is a leading cause of ingrown toenails.
  • Injury - a recent foot injury could aid in an ingrown toenail just from that part of the toe not healing properly or not growing back correctly.
  • Hygiene - proper foot hygiene is important just for the general health of your feet and body. Not cleaning feet daily can end up causing some foot problems.
  • Genetics - you can’t help your genetics, so it’s important to keep an eye out for foot issues and get treatment before those issues like ingrown toenails become severe.
  • Posture - your posture has a big part in making sure that you're healthy. The way you walk, sit, or how you position your feet while you lounge or sleep may have affected them. 

Treatment and Prevention 

There are ways to prevent ingrown toenails from starting or becoming more severe:

  • Shape - keep your toenails trimmed straight across. This keeps them on track to growing the proper way.
  • Length - you don’t want to cut your nails too short. Leave some length at the end so that you can still ensure it keeps growing correctly.
  • Fitted footwear - wear shoes that are a comfortable fit. Make sure the toe box is not too tight or narrow as this keeps them from rubbing against each other and helps with posture too. Also do not get shoes that are too big, which can make your toes slide into the front of the shoe with each step and cause injury to the nails.
  • Hygiene - always make sure that your feet stay clean and file toenails to stay their healthiest. 

Need Help With Your Foot Pain?

If you’re suffering from ingrown toenails, give us a call today, and let’s get you back on your feet pain-free. There’s no reason that you should live with foot or ankle pain. 

Ingrown toenail treatment is easy and should provide instant relief. If you are constantly getting ingrown toenails, we can discuss ways to prevent them permanently like removing part of the nail matrix. Doing so permanently keeps new tissue growth down around your problem area.

Whatever foot or ankle pain you are facing, we can get you taken care of and get you pain-free and treated. You don’t have to live with the consistent sharp pains anymore, let us get you some long-term relief now.



Dr. Peyman A. Elison
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Founder and Managing Partner of Fixing Feet Institute
I’ve been to 2 podiatrists in my life and been having ingrown toenails regrow every time they treat them. I’m 22 now and have autism. I’ve been having removal off the nail and permanent removal for the nail multiple times and they keep growing back every year. Do you have any other treatments available that you know of so it can permanently go away? I’ve tried everything out there but, they keep growing back. I’ve had them since I was 11 now. My dad’s a doctor and has worked in podiatry in his past and he keeps telling me and my mom to ask for another treatment because all the rest aren’t working. I have an appointment with my podiatrist but, I have no idea what to do besides ask what else there is out there to treat these issues. Thank you. Makayla
by Makayla April 7, 2022 at 06:47 AM
Do you have any places in Florida? I have struggled with ingrown toenails for about 6 years now and I’m getting sick and tired of my skin being so hard I can’t even cut the nails. Being poor is the worst and there’s 0 chance I’d ever be able to go to Arizona-
by Sand Dreemurr Steele March 16, 2022 at 02:03 AM
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