Reasons Toenails Curl Inward

Everyone strives for beautiful, strong, and healthy nails; however, sometimes, toenails do not match expectations. Toenail curving inward is one of the common problems. Why does it happen? 

The usual reason that nails curve inwards at the sides is nail trauma and injury. However, it can also be a vitamin or mineral deficiency symptom, such as iron or B12. It can also mean a health complication in more severe cases, such as respiratory issues. 

Other reasons behind toenail curling upwards may be because it is the natural growth pattern of the toenail, or tight shoes may be pushing the tip of the toenail.

Reasons for Toenail Curling Inward


Toenails whose sides are bent inward are called ingrown; this condition can affect the toenails, especially when wearing too-tight shoes in the toe box. The improper cutting of the nail can also cause an ingrown toenail. In some cases, treatment may include removing part or all of the toenails.

Scissors Toenail

Scissors Toenail is a nail abnormality that triggers the nail to curve excessively. There are numerous reasons for the toenails of the scissors, including; fungal diseases such as nail fungal disease and some drugs like beta-blockers.

This condition is common in adult toenails, characterized by excessive curving of nails sideways, and often causes terrible pain. 

Drying out

As toenails grow longer, they start to curl inward because the keratin they are made of becomes drier and drier as they get longer. Keeping toenails moisturized is an excellent way to stop them from curling or breaking. Look for something that includes Vitamin E or biotin, which can help produce healthy, beautiful nails.

Pincer Nail Deformity

A pincer nail deformity or PND is a disease that causes over-curvature in the toenail, maybe because of genetics, infection, or improper cutting of toenails. Sometimes, it might be something more serious, like a response to a health condition or medications that cause abnormality to the nails.

The PND condition is more common in people with some health problems, like fungal disease or a tumor near the nail bed.

Numerous medications cause pincer toenails, such as:

Onychomycosis – is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails that may involve any part of the nail and the matrix, bed, or plate. Onychomycosis can cause pain, discomfort, and disfigurement and may produce severe physical and limit your movements.

Beta-blockers – also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are medications that reduce blood pressure. This medication is reported as a suspected cause of pincer nail deformity because of the development of pincer nails within six (6) months of treatment and later reversal after the cessation of medication.

Onychomatricoma – is a tumor or cyst near the nail bed. The usual clinical presentation is a thickened nail, increased transverse curvature, and proximal splinter hemorrhages

Autoimmune diseases – Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or psoriasis are acquired pincer nail deformity which has been reported to occur in connection with medications taken, secondary to Onychomycosis, psoriasis,  tumors of the nail, as well as due to underlying systemic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Kawasaki disease, and malignancy.

How To Cut A Curved Toenail?

Knowing how to cut curled toenails properly can help stop them from bending further or becoming ingrown.

Use toenail clippers, not fingernail clippers. Soak feet for ten to fifteen minutes to soften nails. Dry thoroughly, then cut straight across. Take time and make small-scale cuts instead of big ones to ensure that it is done correctly and avoid more problems.

Fixing Pincer Toenail

Whether the PND is caused by hereditary or acquired, podiatrists have a treatment method to fix it. The most common way is a simple ingrown toenail procedure. The operation consists of removing any offending nail borders by cutting from both sides of the nail.

Pincer nails usually affect the toenails, and there are typically no symptoms. Hereditary PND has been described; however, the genetic form is unknown.

If the patient has an autoimmune disease or a family history of PND, it may be harder to get rid of this condition. 

If certain medications cause pincer nails to the patient, talk to the doctor about an alternative option with fewer side effects.

The main problem of recurring pincer nails is the development of ingrown toenails. Hence, ingrown toenails should constantly be monitored.

Lastly, the podiatrist may opt for surgery to remove the nail matrix or root altogether when having a recurring pincer nail. The podiatrist will use an anesthetic to numb the foot during these surgeries. Then they may use a chemical or a laser to remove the toenail.

Better safe than sorry!

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