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Ingrown Toenails (Onychocryptosis, Unguis Incarnatus)

Ingrown Toenails Facts

An ingrown toenail, also known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnatus, is a painful condition of the toe. It occurs when a sharp corner or edge of the toenail digs into the skin at the end of or side of the toe. Pain and inflammation at the spot where the nail curls into the skin occurs first. Later, the inflamed area can begin to grow extra tissue or drain yellowish fluid.

  • If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can progress to an infection or even an abscess that could require surgical treatment.
  • Ingrown toenails are common in adults and adolescents but less common in children and infants. They are more common in men than in women. Young adults in their 20s or 30s are most at risk.
  • Any nail can become ingrown, but the condition is usually found in the big toe.

What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

  • Tight-fitting shoes or high heels cause the toes to be compressed together and pressure the nail to grow abnormally.
  • Improper trimming of toenails can cause the corners of the nail to dig into the skin. Nails should be trimmed straight across, not rounded.
  • Disorders such as fungal infections of the nail can cause a thickened or widened toenail to develop.
  • Either an acute injury near the nail or anything that causes the nail to be damaged repetitively (such as playing soccer) can also cause an ingrown nail.
  • If a member of your family has an ingrown toenail, then you are more likely to develop one, too. Some people's nails are normally more rounded than others or the underlying bone can be more "upturned," which increases the chance of developing ingrown nails.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2016

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What causes an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail can have a number of different causes. Cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edge of the nail can cause it to grow into the skin. Wearing shoes or socks that don't fit well can also cause an ingrown toenail. If your shoes are too tight, they might press the nail into the toe and cause it to grow into the skin.

You can get an ingrown toenail if you hurt your toe, such as stubbing it. This can cause the nail to grow inward. Repeating an activity that injuries the nail, such as kicking a soccer ball, can also cause an ingrown nail.

SOURCE: Healthwise


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Toenail, Ingrown »

Ingrown toenails (unguis incarnatus) are a common toenail problem of uncertain etiology.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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