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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 may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact our podiatrists of Superior Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.


  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.


Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.


Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Long Beach, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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