Ingrown Toenails


 Dr. Joseph Stern, Sport Medicine Podiatrist and SportMedBC practitioner


Ingrown toenails are one of the more common foot problems seen in runners and walkers and can be very painful. It is also known as Onychocryptosis.


  • Excessive pressure on the outside of the great toe.
  • Stubbing a toe or having it stepped on.
  • Improper trimming of nails.
  • Excessively tight socks.
  • Shoes with a narrow toe box.
  • Excessive running or walking.



  • Pain along the margin(s) of the toenail.
  • Aggravated by wearing shoes, particularly those with narrow toes.
  • May be sensitive to any pressure, even the weight of bed sheets.
  • There may be signs of infection.
  • There may be drainage of pus, or a watery discharge tinged with blood.



Uninfected ingrown toenails can be treated the following way:

  • Soak the feet in warm soapy or salt water.
  • Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.
  • Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area.
  • Bandage the toe.


 A Podiatrist should treat an infected ingrown toenail, which is usually red and has a discharge of pus, immediately. Any attempts at “home surgery” should not be attempted.


Following these simple steps can prevent ingrown toenails. 

  • Protect the feet from trauma.
  • Avoid poorly fitting shoes. Shoes that are short or tight in the toe box or also shoes that are loose should be avoided.
  • Trims nail straight across with clippers to a comfortable length and do this on a regular basis.



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