In-Grown Toenails

In-Grown Toenails

In-grown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, occur when the corner of the toenail grows down into the skin, causing pain, inflammation and, occasionally, infection. The condition is most commonly seen on the big toe. For many, the problem is avoidable simply by trimming one's toenails straight across rather than cutting them off the corners. Wearing proper fitting footwear that doesn't impinge on the toe space is also advisable.

Diabetes sufferers often experience greater complications due to the decreased blood flow to the foot.


1. Swollen, red skin at corner of toe.

2. Pus

3. Enlarged big toe

4. Pain

5. Limping


  • Soak foot in a warm water bath.
  • Insert a small piece of cotton beneath the corner of the nail where it grows into the toe to encourage the nail to grow above the skin and alleviate pain. Be sure to trim toenails straight across and after bathing, when they are softer. If you have trouble trimming your toenails or are suffering from diabetes related issues in your feet and legs, you may want to have a podiatrist do this for you.
  • Wear shoes that provide more room in the toe area, preferably offering a half inch of space for toes to move.
  • Medications – analgesic and narcotics may be prescribed by your physician for pain relief.


Chronic in-grown toenails may be treated with matricectomy, the surgical or chemical removal of the nail matrix.