Ingrown Toenails: What Causes Them?

how to avoid ingrown toenails
Ingrown nails might be nothing more than an inconvenience, however, they may also be extremely painful. Keep reading to learn the common causes of ingrown toenails so you can prevent them in future!

Ingrown toenails can be a painful condition that occurs when the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin. This condition primarily affects the big toe, but it can also occur in other toes. Several factors contribute to the development of ingrown toenails as explained below.

Improper Nail Trimming

Many people use a fingernail clipper to cut their toenails. Invest in a toenail clipper or a toenail nipper and cut the toenails across. Many people round the corners of the toenail like they do their fingernails. Always go with the curve of the toe, and avoid cutting the nails too short. A fingernail should fit under the edge of the toenail.

Tight Shoes

When shoes are too tight in the front, the big toe presses against the toe next to it. This put pressure on the big toe. The nail then grows inward. Any shoe with a narrow toe box will compress the toes. Holistic Foot Clinic podiatry helps individuals with ingrown nails caused by shoes that are too tight among other things.

Trauma to the Toe

A person who stubs their toe or drops a heavy object on it is at high risk of an ingrown toenail. The nail bed is traumatized. An ingrown nail from trauma to the toenail is less common, but it can and does happen.


Certain people are more prone to ingrown toenails because of their family history. It might be that the toenail is abnormally shaped or the structure is irregular. This makes the nail more prone to grow inward.

Certain people have toes that are extremely close together. The toes might even overlap. In both situations, the toenails are at increased risk of growing inward.

Abnormalities in the Nail

A person might find they have a nail that is thickened or curved and this increases the likelihood of the toenails growing inward. The condition might be congenital or it could be the result of trauma to the nail or a fungal infection.

Excessive Sweating

Certain people find their feet sweat excessively. The moisture softens the skin, and this makes it easy for the nail to break through the skin. It then grows in instead of straight.

Lifestyle Habits

People who bite their nails or pick at them often damage the nail bed when doing so. They also damage the surrounding skin, making it weaker. They might then find they have one or more ingrown nails.

Improper Hygiene

If the feet are not kept clean and dry, the nails may begin to grow inward. In addition, a person might develop a bacterial or fungal infection. This also weakens the skin while leading to inflammation. A person might find their nails grow inward when this infection develops.

Health Conditions

Individuals suffering from diabetes or an immune system disorder often have issues with blood circulation. The same goes for men and women with peripheral vascular disease. The skin in these individuals is often weaker. Restricted blood flow and weak skin increase a person’s risk of ingrown toenails.

and become infected. For this reason, any person with one or more ingrown toenails should seek treatment immediately. A medical professional can treat the ingrown toenail while providing advice on how to prevent ingrown nails in the future.

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