Symptoms and Signs of Ingrown Toenails (Onychocryptosis, Unguis Incarnatus)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 7/12/2022

Doctor's Notes on Ingrown Toenails (Onychocryptosis, Unguis Incarnatus)

Ingrown toenails, medically known as onychocryptosis, are caused by a toenail growing into the surrounding nail fold. Some conditions that may predispose to the development of ingrown toenails include injuries, poor foot hygiene, deformities of the toes or feet, and improper footwear. Ingrown toenails are most commonly seen in the big toe and are a relatively common problem.

Associated signs and symptoms include redness, pain, and swelling of the affected toe. In many cases, an ingrown toenail may become infected. In the case of an infection, drainage of yellowish pus may occur from the site. Other symptoms and signs associated with ingrown toenails can include limping or gait disturbances if the pain interferes with walking and the development of scar tissue at the site.

What Is the Treatment for Ingrown Toenails?

Home remedies to manage ingrown toenails include soaking in warm water, placing dental floss or cotton beneath the toenail after soaking, and the use of antibiotic cream and over-the-counter pain reliever medications.

A health care provider may recommend in-office treatments such as lifting the nail and placing cotton or a splint underneath the affected area or surgical removal of the involved area under local anesthesia, known as nail avulsion. In some cases, your doctor may choose to surgically remove the entire nail.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.