Got Pain in Toenail? Here Are 4 Possible Reasons Why!

By December 10, 2021 October 30th, 2023 No Comments

Are you currently suffering from pain in your toenail? Toenail pain can manifest in many forms. You could experience pain in toenail when pressed, or pain in toenail in shoes. Either way, toenail pain is not fun.

There are lots of conditions and habits that could lead to pain in your toenail. You could experience pain from wearing tight shoes that don’t fit you right, or from cutting your nails shorter than necessary.

You could also be suffering from pain due to infections. If you have diabetes or another circulatory issue, you’re very likely to develop an infection that could lead to pain in your toenails.

Most times, toenail pain is easy to treat at home. But, you should always check in with a podiatrist because the pain may be related to something more serious.

There are 4 main reasons you could be experiencing pain in your toenails. Read on to learn more.

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Causes for Pain in Toenail

  1. Toenail Trauma

Toenail trauma can occur when you drop something heavy on your foot, or if you fall, stub your toe, or even wear shoes that don’t fit you right. You could also experience toenail trauma from exercising.

You’ll experience minor bruising, but it’ll go away on its own. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes to allow your feet to heal and ease the pain.

If your pain is severe, however, visit a podiatrist. They’ll be able to drain the blood out from under the affected nail. Never do this at home, because it could lead to a severe infection.

In some instances of toenail trauma, your toenail may just fall off entirely. The nail will regrow within the next few months. In case this occurs, make sure you keep your toe dry and clean at all times. Wear shoes to protect the sensitive area that is normally covered by the nail. Avoid shoes that put pressure on your toes.

You can take over the counter pain relievers to deal with the pain. Make sure to keep your foot elevated, because this helps decrease the swelling in your feet and toes.

If you still suffer from pain and there’s discolouration, or if you notice a dark area of “growth” under the infected nail, see a doctor immediately to rule out tumours.


  • Reddish-black bruise under your nail
  • Pressure under your nail
  • Pain in toenail
  • Visible and distinct separation from skin and nail
  1. Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenail happens when your skin that surrounds your nail grows over the tip. When you cut your toenails shorter than you need to, or if you wear shoes that are too tight, you make yourself susceptible to ingrown toenails. When untreated, an ingrown toenail can be very uncomfortable and can also lead to infections like paronychia.

If your ingrown toenail is not significantly bad and doesn’t show signs of infection (like drainage and warmth), it can be treated at home. Soak your feet in warm water multiple times a day, this will help you with the tenderness and redness.

To give yourself relief when you have an ingrown toenail, take over the counter medicines for the pain and make sure to wear shoes that fit you well, i.e. don’t pinch your toes. This will allow your nail to heal as well.

If at-home treatments don’t help you, visit a podiatrist. They’ll be able to trim or partially remove the affected nail. If you notice your simple ingrown nail is worsening, visit a podiatrist immediately. You’ll know it’s worse if you notice pus, an unpleasant smell, and discharge.

If you have a condition like diabetes, visit a doctor or podiatrist as soon as you notice an infected ingrown toenail. You’re at high risk of developing a severe infection.


  • Pain in toenail and skin surrounding it
  • Redness around nail
  • Fluid-filled bump on edge of your nail bed
  1. Paronychia

Paronychia is an infection that affects the skin around your nails. Though it usually affects your fingernails, it can also affect your toenails.

You are at an increased risk of developing a paronychia if you suffer from trauma to your toenail or have an untreated ingrown toenail. These issues make it very easy for bacteria to enter your system and give you an infection.

Often a simple foot soak can help ease pain and swelling. If even after frequent foot soaks your symptoms worsen, if you see pus or infection, or if you suffer from any immune system issues like diabetes, you would have to see your physician and get the infection drained.

With paronychia, you have to be on the lookout for any signs of cellulitis. These signs could include pain, redness, and warmth of the cellulite-laden skin. These symptoms could present a serious bacterial infection, communicable to the surrounding tissue. If these symptoms do occur, see your physician immediately and be prepared for antibiotics.

With increased severity of cellulitis, you might see red streaks on your legs, fever, and nausea. If this does happen, you should get immediate medical care.


  • Pain in toenail
  • Warmth in skin and redness
  • Swollen toe
  • Pus
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  1. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can affect your toenails or the skin on your feet and toes. When they affect your toenails, it’s called Onychomycosis. When it affects your skin, it could be athlete’s foot.

Onychomycosis can discolour and thicken your toenail. You may also experience pain, specifically when pressure is applied to your nail while wearing shoes.

You can usually treat this condition with medicated nail polish, which is available at most pharmacies near you. If you notice your symptoms get worse or do not go away, visit a podiatrist and they’ll be able to find the right antifungal medicine for you!


  • Discolouration and thickening of nail
  • Pain in toenail
  • Nail splitting
  • Itchy or painful feet or toes
  • Skin peeling between your toes
  • Redness

Other Causes

If any of the above isn’t the culprits, you may be suffering from something else. You could be suffering from a condition in which pain in toenail is a symptom, but not the main symptom. You could be suffering from a chronic illness like arthritis, liver or lung disease, bursitis, or even psoriasis. This is why it’s important to visit a podiatrist to ensure you aren’t suffering from something worse.

When to See a Doctor

If you suffer from pain in toenail, pain in toenail when pressed, or pain in toenail in shoes, it’s important to monitor it. If you suffer from any of the below, call a podiatrist immediately:

  • You pain in toenail doesn’t get better after at-home treatment
  • The pain affects your everyday activities
  • You notice discharge or pus
  • There’s a foul odor
  • Red streaks on your foot
  • You have pain in toenail and you are diabetic

If you suffer from the above, contact a podiatrist immediately. You can book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic for the best podiatric treatment.

Please call us on  0800 107 3290 / 077 99 122 099 Or contact us now