What Causes Toenails To Grow Crooked?


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David Gill answered
There are a number of potential reasons that toenails can grow crooked. This condition is most commonly termed an 'ingrown toenail'. One of the most common reasons for the occurrence of an ingrown toenail is wearing unsuitable footwear which constricts the toes. It may also be as a result of an injury to the toe, cutting the toenails too short or not cutting the toenails straight across. Alternatively the sufferer may simply be unfortunate enough to have toenails that grow like that naturally.

  • Is this condition preventable?
Yes. Firstly when grooming, cut the nail straight across. This applies to fingernails and toenails as any nail can grow crooked. If preferred, file the sides of the nail with a nail file to achieve an aesthetically pleasing curve. Do not cut the nail too short as it may be susceptible to growing into the soft fleshy skin surrounding it. Finally ensure that comfortable shoes are worn and the toes are given room to breathe.

  • How about treatments?
There are a few simple home remedies that may alleviate the symptoms and get the toe to grow normally again, but as with all medical complaints it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional before taking any action. Bathing the feet in tepid water for at least a quarter of an hour three times each day will help relieve any pain and combat inflammation of the toe. Lifting the toenail when it is digging into the skin by using a piece of tooth pick, dental floss or cotton wool will separate the nail from the toe slightly and eventually help the toenail to grow above the skin.

  • What if the toenail is 'too far gone'? Will it need to be amputated?
No, that would be a tad extreme as there are plenty of surgical procedures not involving toe amputation that have been very successful, although admittedly chopping off the toe would undoubtedly get rid of the problem. After all no toe - no ingrown toenail ;-)

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