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What You Need To Know About Ingrown Toenails

By Dr. Jeffery Gregori, 02/06/23, 6:15AM PST


Treatments, causes, and when to seek medical care

Ingrown Nails - It can’t always be bad shoes

Dr. Gregori is a local podiatrist with 22 years of experience.

I don’t know what it is about nails, but whenever we see a nail traumatized or pulled out, everyone gets the Heebie-Jeebies.  Nails are often viewed as a protective shield around the toes or fingers and when the nail and the skin intersect, that is when you get the dreaded Ingrown Nail.  An ingrown nail is when the nail plate grows into the nail fold of the finger or the toe.  It is a very common condition that shows an occurrence of about 3 million cases a year.


Presentation of an ingrown nail is normally with pain, swelling, redness and in more severe cases pus and bleeding.   The inflammation is caused by the irritation of the nail along the skin. But when the nail makes a cut or laceration in the skin, that is when bacteria start to invade and causes more pain, drainage and bleeding.


Ingrown nails can occur for a variety of reasons. Poor or too aggressive trimming of the nails, picking at the nails, tight fitting shoes, previous nail trauma, nail thickness and even genetics.  There are those individuals that have thick skin along the nail folds that the nail just runs into.

Preventative Care & Treatment

So, the best way to avoid an ingrown is to cut the nails straight across and file the sides with an emery board.  Maintenance will vary from person to person, but usually every 6 weeks is best to make sure your nails are a good length.  If you begin to experience pain and redness along the nail folds, you can try to soak the area with warm soapy water or Epsom soaks for about 10 minutes and then apply a thin layer of Vaseline or a triple antibiotic (as long as you are not allergic) to the area and then secure it with a band aid.  If the area is not resolved after 3 days, then I recommend visiting your local Podiatrist. 

When to Seek Medical Care Right Away

For presentations of pus, bleeding, and moderate redness, I would seek medical care right away as infection can spread up the toe or even into the bone if not addressed.  Your podiatrist has a simple, in-office procedure, that can provide you with instant resolve of the issue and even provide an option that will not allow the ingrown nail to come back.  


About the author: Jeffery Gregori, DPM is a local podiatrist that has been in practice for 22 years.  He is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a member of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. He practices with Bay Area Foot Care, Inc with offices located in Danville and Pleasanton. You can contact the Bay Area Foot Care office in Danville, CA at 925-830-2929 or the BAFC office in Pleasanton, CA at 925-556-4460.

Example of an ingrown toenail

Example of an ingrown toenail