Terminal learning objective

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Ingrown Toenails – an ingrown nail occurs when the nail border or corner presses on the surrounding tissue. This condition is painful and often results in an infection once the skin is broken (see figure 2).


- The most common causes are improper trimming of toenails and poor hygiene.

- Trauma to the nail plate or toe

- Improperly fitted footwear

- Abnormally shaped nail plate

Figure 2. Infected Ingrown Toenail

Signs and Symptoms

- Pain along the margin(s) of the toenail. The great toe is the most common toe affected.

- Localized edema

- There may be signs of infection (drainage of pus, blood, or watery discharge tinged with blood)


- Trim a small point off the corner of the nail to relieve the pressure. Remove any dead skin that may have accumulated in the nail groove.

- Elevate the end of the nail to prevent further irritation of the soft tissue. Proper trimming should correct ingrown toenail. If not…

- Surgically correct a chronic ingrown toenail at the BAS, by complete or partial removal of toenail, under the supervision of a clinician.

- If there are signs of infection, antibiotics should be considered.

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