What Is An Ingrown Toenail?

Seriously Infected Ingrown Toenail

Your toenail doesn’t have to look like this to be ingrown. In fact, if it does look like this, stop reading and head to a doctor!!!

By the strictest definition, an ingrown toenail, referred to medically as Onychocryptosis, occurs when the nail grows into and eventually punctures the skin next to the nail bed.  While this condition is quite common, perhaps just as common is the incurvated or highly curved toenail.  With a highly curved toenail, the side of the nail may grow straight down into the toe or even hook back under the toenail (referred to as a hooked toenail).  While this condition does not necessarily result in puncturing of the skin, it can create very painful, pressure sensitive nails.  For the sake of simplicity and helping you find relief, I will use the term “ingrown” to refer to both conditions.

Still Not Sure If Your Toenail Is Ingrown?

I’ve been there…You just want to be SURE, right?  Basically, if your toenail is poking into your toe in any way and making the surrounding skin red, swollen, very sore, etc. it is probably safe to say that it is ingrown.  Don’t be deterred by photos of ingrown toenails that are massively deformed, oozing pus, or bloody…these are the extreme cases.  Just because yours isn’t YouTube worthy doesn’t mean it isn’t painful or that it shouldn’t be treated seriously.