Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus
Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
An ingrown nail occurs when a nail grows into the flesh at the side
of the nail. This usually affects the toes, particularly the big toe. People
with curved or thick nails are most likely to develop a problem with ingrown
nails, although ingrown nails can affect anyone.
Ingrown nails are most frequently caused by:
Cutting the toenails too short or rounding the
Wearing shoes that fit poorly or that press the nail
into the toe.
An injury such as stubbing your toe, which may cause
the nail to grow inward.
Most ingrown nail problems can be prevented by properly grooming the
toenails and by wearing shoes that fit. Home treatment can often help relieve
pain and allow the nail to grow out normally.
Medical treatment of an infected ingrown nail often includes oral
antibiotics or topical ointments. A severely ingrown nail may have to be
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine