Signs that may indicate the formation of an ingrown toenail include redness, pain, swelling of the surrounding skin, possible bleeding or oozing of pus, and an overgrowth of the skin around the nail. The surrounding skin may also feel tender and become swollen or hardened. Most ingrown toenails are diagnosed by a simple physical exam; however, an x-ray may be required to show how deep the nail has grown into the skin of the toe.
Many factors influence the likelihood of developing an ingrown toenail. The most common way ingrown toenails are formed is due to an incorrect method in how the toenails are trimmed. If you cut your toenails too short or cut them at an angle, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting this condition. Another main factor that contributes to ingrown toenails is the choice of footwear. Those who commonly wear tightly fitted shoes, such as high heels, that do not give the toes enough room, put too much pressure on the big toes. This can create an ingrown toenail. To alleviate the pain, a small piece of cotton may be fitted underneath the nail. However, in more serious cases, total removal of the nail may be necessary.