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Risk Factors for Ingrown Toenails

Tuesday, 02 April 2024 00:00

Ingrown toenails, a common condition where the nail grows into the skin surrounding the toe, have a variety of risk factors. Trimming the toenails too short or rounding the edges of the nail can encourage the nail to grow into the skin rather than over it, so proper nail trimming is important. Wearing tight footwear and socks that squeeze the toes can also contribute to the problem by pushing the nail into the toe skin. Athletes and individuals who engage in activities that put repeated pressure on the toes are at an increased risk, as this pressure can cause the nail to grow incorrectly. While genetics do not usually play a major role in causing ingrown toenails, some people are predisposed to developing them because they are born with naturally curved or thick toenails. Also, poor foot hygiene and injury to the toenail area can increase the likelihood of developing an ingrown toenail. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, or wish to know how to prevent ingrown toenails from occurring in the future, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist. 

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our podiatrists of Advanced Ankle & Foot Surgeons. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.


  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition


Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.


Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in O'Fallon, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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