Stages of an Ingrown Toenail

There are several ways to develop the painful and uncomfortable condition known as an ingrown toenail. It occurs when the toenail grows into the skin on the side of the nail and may occur due to several different reasons. These may include trimming the toenails incorrectly, wearing shoes and socks that are too tight, or possibly enduring an injury to the toe. There may be options, which may provide moderate relief, including soaking the toe in warm water, wearing the correct footwear that has adequate room for the toes to move about in, or taking antibiotics for an ingrown toenail that becomes infected. Research has shown there are three stages that take place when this condition occurs. The first phase consists of swelling around the side of the nail. Possible drainage and increased pain may be present in phase two, and phase three will typically consist of chronic and recurring infections. If you have developed an ingrown toenail, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible to discuss the best treatment for you.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Kennedy Legel of Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Specialists. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.


  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.


Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.


Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Dallas, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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