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In this condition the nail burrows into the nail groove. The nail groove ulcerates
and its wall grows over the nail. The nail becomes embedded.
Ingrowing toenail also known as onychocryptosis, is a common condition
which results in pain and disability in the foot.
- in this condition a sharp spike of the nail grows into an overlapping nail
- frequently occurs in the great toe but can also affect the lesser toes
- occurs more in males between the ages of 15 and 40 years
- condition commonly affects the big toe rather than other toes. May affect
one or both sides of the nail
- incidence is approximately 8 cases per 1,000 patients per year. Males and
females are affected equally. Most commonly affects young men and elderly
women. The incidence in UK general practice has doubled in the last 20 years
- a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors may be responsible for
the condition e.g. - poorly fitting shoes, improperly trimmed nails, tight
socks, excessive sweating, soft tissue abnormalities of the toe, and inherent
Ingrowing toenails may occur in the context of
- normal nail shape
- tend to present in younger people
- nail spike created by improper nail trimming of the lateral edge may cause
trauma to the soft tissue allowing bacteria and fungal skin flora to enter
and cause infection
- poorly fitting shoes may worsen the situation
- abnormal nail shape e.g. patients with incurvated nails or a wide nail plate
be more common in families
- an important cause may be the wearing of shoes that are too tight
- Doctor (April 26th 2005):21.
- Park DH, Singh
D. The management of ingrowing toenails. BMJ. 2012;344:e2089
Last reviewed 01/2018