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What are symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Hillary B. Brenner, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
The symptoms of an ingrown toenail are pain, redness, drainage of pus, odor and prominent skin tissue surrounding the toenail.
If you have an ingrown toenail, you may notice these things around your toenail:
  • Redness
  • Pus along the edge of the toenail
  • Swelling
  • Pain -- especially when you push the reddened skin toward the toenail
Ingrown toenails happen most often with your big toe.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
An ingrown toenail happens when the edge of the nail curves inward toward the skin and puts pressure on the skin or punctures it. The main symptoms include:
  • pain or tenderness where the nail meets the skin at the corners
  • swelling and/or redness of the skin in that area
  • pus oozing from the area
Though ingrown toenails can often be treated at home in the early stages, experts recommend talking to your doctor if there is evidence of infection, such as severe or increasing redness, pain, or pus. People who have diabetes or nerve damage or poor circulation in their feet should contact their doctor at the first sign of an ingrown nail. Those health conditions can make it harder for the foot to heal properly and put you at greater risk for a serious infection.
Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
An ingrown toenail develops when the side of the nail digs into the skin. Symptoms of ingrown toenail include:
  • Pain in the toe that increases when it is pressed
  • A nail edge that digs into the side of the toe
  • A toe that's red or warm to the touch

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.