ABC Medical Center > Ingrown toenails

What is Ingrown toenails?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It is a common condition in which a fragment of the top or side of a toenail becomes embedded in the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation, pain, and redness, and can become infected.

Normally, ingrown toenails do not cause complications, but if the pain is too intense, begin to ooze, or you identify signs of infection, it is recommended that you see your doctor to treat it promptly and prevent the infection from spreading.

If you are diabetic, you will need to see your doctor since diabetes and other conditions that affect blood circulation are potential risk factors for an ingrown toenail to present complications.

Signs and symptoms Ingrown toenails

  • Hypersensitivity and pain in the area where the nail was ingrown.
  • Reddish coloration that surrounds the nail.
  • Inflammation.
  • Infection in the affected area.
  • Purulent discharge.

The origin of ingrown nails is due to factors such as: 

  • Wearing tight shoes that squeeze the fingers and nails.
  • Problems cutting nails, cutting at the wrong angle, or cutting too close.
  • Blows and injuries to the toes.
  • Extreme curvature of the nails.

The possible complications of an ingrown toenail that is not treated promptly range from infections of various magnitudes, or when there is diabetes involved, there may be nerve damage, ulcers that do not heal, severe infection, and lack of blood supply that could trigger gangrene.

How to prevent ingrown toenails: 

  • Be careful when trimming your nails, don’t overcut them or cut them in a curve.
  • If possible, go to a podiatrist to take care of your feet.
  • Don’t wear tight shoes.
  • Protect your feet from shocks or other damage.
  • If you are diabetic or have poor circulation, check your feet daily for any abnormalities.

Diagnosis and treatment Ingrown toenails

Based on your symptoms and physical examination, your doctor can determine if you have an ingrown toenail and if you have an infection. In most cases, the treatment to follow will be:

  • Warm foot bath several times a day.
  • Antibiotic cream.
  • Wear open shoes or sandals until the condition improves.
  • Painkillers.
  • Anti-inflammatories.

When there is a more severe infection, a procedure will be necessary to remove the ingrown nail fragment, or in more severe cases, remove part of the nail and the affected tissue below it.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Castro ALM. Manejo de las uñas encarnadas en el 1er nivel de atención. Rev Med Cos Cen. 2009;66(587):43-47.
  • Moreno M, Kaminsky A. Onicocriptosis múltiple. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2008;6(3):176-179.

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