Your Health Defenders

Health Blog


5 Factors That Can Increase Your Risk of Developing an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is a prevalent nail disorder that occurs when the sides of your toenails dig into the flesh, usually on the sides. The nail breaking the skin can create a wound that can easily harbor bacteria, which can cause you to develop infections. Consequently, an ingrown toenail might be accompanied by inflammation, redness, and pain that can be severe enough to affect your walking. The condition can affect any toe but generally appears in the big toes. And before it becomes infected enough to lower your quality of life, you should seek treatment from an ingrown toenail cypress expert. This begins with understanding the risk factors so that you can also lower your risk in the future.

Poor Nail Trimming Practices

Arguably the most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming practices. Many ingrown toenail patients cut their nails too short, usually into the skin. They also cut their toenails at an angle, creating a notch at the ends. While this may appear more natural – since the nail aligns with your toe – it is harmful. Notching your toenails encourages the ends to grow into the skin. The best way to avoid such problems is to cut your nails straight across and leave enough space to run a fingertip underneath them – not too long and not too short.

Tight Fitting Shoes

Ill-fitting footwear can contribute to ingrown toenail symptoms. If you wear shoes with a too-narrow toe box, the material can exert pressure on your nails, forcing them to grow on your skin. Similarly, a shoe that is too wide at the toes can exert pressure on your toes when you walk. You can avoid this risk by only buying shoes in your size and avoiding tight socks and stockings.


Sometimes, an ingrown toenail develops due to trauma. This is more likely if you stub your toe or if something heavy falls on your legs. Ingrown toenails are also common among people who play high-contact sports that involve a lot of hitting, running, or other repetitive motions. If this sounds like you, you can protect your toes from becoming ingrown by wearing protective shoes during such activities.


Some people are more likely than others to develop ingrown toenails – not because of trauma or ill-fitting footwear, but due to genetics. Medical experts have discovered several genetic components of ingrown toenails. For instance, some people develop more skin than normal around the nails. If they experience trauma or constant pressure from running or playing sports, the skin can bulge around the nail and begin to grow into the skin.

Poor Foot Hygiene

The skin around your toes is tougher than the skin on your thighs. This feature protects it from injury and infection. However, if you regularly walk barefoot in damp or wet environments or fail to dry sweaty feet, you can expose your feet to infection. This can then weaken the skin surrounding your toes, making it soft and more receptive to an encroaching toenail.

Don’t Let Ingrown Toenails Run Your Life

Ingrown toenails often cause pain and complications like redness, puss, odor, and yellowing. These symptoms can be both painful and embarrassing, necessitating ingrown toenail treatment. If you have an ingrown toenail, you should consult a podiatrist as soon as possible. They can help find the best way to treat the condition, alleviate your pain, and prevent future infections. This is especially important if you also have an underlying medical condition like diabetes that can compromise wound healing.