ingrown fingernail

Ingrown Fingernail: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


An ingrown fingernail, also known as onychocryptosis, is a common and painful condition that occurs when the edge of the fingernail grows into the surrounding skin. This can lead to redness, swelling, and discomfort. If left untreated, it may cause infection and further complications. In this article, we will explore the causes, treatment options, and prevention tips for ingrown fingernails.

1. Understanding Ingrown Fingernails

An ingrown fingernail usually develops on the sides of the nail, particularly the big toe, but it can occur on any finger. The condition is often caused by improper nail trimming. Wearing tight-fitting shoes, or sustaining a finger injury.

2. Recognizing the Symptoms

The early symptoms of an ingrown fingernail include tenderness, redness, and swelling around the affected area. As the condition progresses, it may lead to pain, infection, and the formation of pus. If you experience severe pain or notice any signs of infection, seek medical attention promptly.

3. Causes of Ingrown Fingernails

3.1 Incorrect Nail Trimming

Trimming your nails improperly, such as rounding the edges or cutting them too short, increases the risk of the nail growing into the skin.

3.2 Tight-Fitting Footwear

Wearing tight shoes or high heels can put pressure on the toes, causing the nail to grow abnormally and leading to an ingrown fingernail.

3.3 Injury to the Nail

Injuries to the finger or nail bed. Like stubbing your finger, Or getting it caught in a door. Can contribute to the development of an ingrown fingernail.

3.4 Genetics

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to ingrown fingernails, making them more susceptible to the condition.

4. Treating Ingrown Fingernails

4.1 Soaking the Finger

Soaking the affected finger in warm, soapy water several times a day can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

4.2 Lifting the Nail

Using a sterile instrument, gently lift the ingrown edge of the nail to create a small gap, allowing it to grow above the skin.

4.3 Applying Antibiotics

If the ingrown fingernail becomes infected, topical.

4.4 Surgical Intervention

In severe cases, a doctor may need to perform a minor surgical procedure to remove the ingrown part of the nail and prevent it from recurring.

5. Preventive Measures

5.1 Proper Nail Trimming

Trim your fingernails straight across, avoiding curved edges, and keep them at a moderate length.

5.2 Wear Proper Footwear

Choose shoes that provide ample room for your toes and avoid tight-fitting footwear.

5.3 Protect Your Fingers

When engaging in activities that may risk injuring your fingers, wear protective gloves.

5.4 Maintain Good Hygiene

Keep your hands and nails clean to reduce the risk of infection.

5.5 Avoid Nail Biting

Nail biting can contribute to ingrown fingernails, so break this habit to prevent future occurrences.


Ingrown fingernails can be a painful and bothersome condition, but with proper care and attention, it is manageable and preventable. Regularly trim your nails, wear appropriate footwear, and be cautious of potential finger injuries. If you suspect an infection or find the condition worsening, consult a healthcare professional promptly for proper treatment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can ingrown fingernails be treated at home? Yes, mild cases of ingrown fingernails can often be treated at home. By soaking the finger and lifting the nail gently.
  2. What should I do if my ingrown fingernail is infected? If you suspect an infection. Seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics.
  3. Can I prevent ingrown fingernails? Yes, by following preventive measures such as proper nail trimming and wearing appropriate footwear, you can reduce the risk of ingrown fingernails.
  4. Is surgery necessary for ingrown fingernails? In most cases. Surgery is not required. However, if the condition is severe or recurrent, a minor surgical procedure may be necessary.
  5. Are ingrown fingernails hereditary? While genetics may play a role in some cases. Ingrown fingernails are primarily caused by external factors. Such as improper nail trimming and footwear choices.

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