What’s Causing The Pain In Your Toenail?

By April 11, 2022 October 31st, 2023 No Comments

It is very common to experience pain in your toenails. Whether it is a pain in your toenail when pressed, or simply a general overall pain in the toenail, you should never ignore it. Pain in the toenail could be a smaller symptom of a much larger issue that requires immediate medical attention. Our podiatrists will be able to take a look at your aching toenail and diagnose the root cause of the issue and treat it accordingly.

You must never ignore any pain you feel, especially if you experience pain in your toenail when pressed. It could be a sign of an infection. You must always practice proper foot care and make regular visits to the podiatrist to help prevent serious illnesses. Especially if you have diabetes and other circulatory problems, a simple pain in your toenail could lead to a nasty infection, and when ignored for too long, could even result in amputation.


We’ve put together this article to help you understand the common causes of pain in toenails. Read on to learn more.

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Why Do I Feel Pain In My Toenail?

Here are a few possible reasons for the pain in your toenail:

  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 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 cellulites. 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 the increased severity of cellulites, 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. Toenail Trauma

Toenail trauma can occur when you drop something heavy on your foot, 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 tumors.


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

Though they are called “Hangnails”, they are not actually nails. Hangnails are actually small bits of skin that peel off the corner of your nail. They’re very common and can lead to pain in your toenail. They’re more common on fingernails but can also affect your toes. Some common causes are:

  • Soaps that irritate your skin
  • Cold climate
  • Nail-biting (for fingers)
  • Dry skin

It’s important to remember that you should never rip off a hangnail, as it can lead to infection. Hangnails may also bleed in some cases.

  1. Fungal Infection:

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 the nail
  • Pain in toenail
  • Nail splitting
  • Itchy or painful feet or toes
  • Skin peeling between your toes
  • Redness
  1. Pain in Toenail When Pressed? It Could Be An Ingrown Toenail!

The most common cause behind pain in toenail when pressed is Ingrown Toenails. An ingrown toenail happens when the 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


Now that you know some of the common reasons people get pain in their toenails, you’ll be able to identify and treat the pain in your toenail properly. Book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic for the best podiatric treatment in town.

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