An ingrown nail grows into the flesh instead of over it and usually
affects the toes, particularly the big toe. The site of an ingrown nail can be
painful, tender, red, swollen, and can sometimes develop pus.
Ingrown nails are most often caused by:
Cutting the toenails too short or rounding the
Having curved or thick nails.
or socks that fit poorly or that press the nail into the
Getting an injury such as stubbing the toe, which may cause
the nail to grow inward.
Most ingrown nail problems can be prevented by proper nail care,
such as cutting nails straight across, and by wearing shoes and socks that fit
well. Home treatment, such as soaking the affected nail in hot water, can often
help relieve pain. Antibiotics may be needed for an ingrown nail that becomes
infected. A severely ingrown nail may have to be partially or completely
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.