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The Three Stages of an Ingrown Toenail

Tuesday, 06 July 2021 00:00

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a nail grows into the surrounding skin rather than over it. An ingrown toenail can be classified into one of three categories based on its severity. A Stage 1 ingrown toenail is characterized by the end of the toe becoming red and mildly swollen, warm, or painful to the touch, but with no pus or drainage. A Stage 2 ingrown toenail is characterized by increased redness, swelling, and pain, white or yellow-colored pus or drainage from the area, and infection. A Stage 3 ingrown toenail will usually have even more severe redness and swelling, be very painful, and be accompanied by an overgrowth of skin around the toenail. More severe infection and a fever may follow. If you frequently experience ingrown toenails, or if your toenail is showing signs of infection, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist as soon as possible. 

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 one of our podiatrists of Family Foot Care. Our doctors 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 offices located in Valatie and Albany, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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