Ingrowing Toenails

What are Ingrowing toenails?

Medically known as onychocryptosis, an ingrowing toenail is when the edge or spike of a nail punctures the skin at either one or both sides of the nail. It can be very painful, and is prone to infection as the nail creates a portal of entry for bacteria into the body. If the toe is infected it might appear red, hot and swollen and may exude fluid and odour. The wound tries to heal but can’t if the offending piece of nail is in the way and therefore sometimes a pinky red bulbous tissue known as hyper-granulation forms around the nail.

What can cause Ingrowing toenails?

  • Picking or trimming nails too short or cutting down the sides of the nail and leaving a spike
  • Poor fitting footwear (often narrow and shallow toed) that puts pressure on the nail
  • Trauma to the nail, for example stubbing the toe
  • Certain nail shapes can be more prone to ingrowing such as involuted (curved at the sides), onychauxic (thickened) and wide nails

How we can help

Depending on your medical history, foot risk status and the severity of the ingrowing nail Our Podiatrists will assess and advise you on the most suitable treatment options.

Initial treatment
Removing the nail spike/edge to relieve the pain and enable the toe to start healing. If you have a wound it will be cleansed and dressed appropriately to keep it covered from bacteria. If the toe shows any signs of infection we will be able to arrange antibiotics from your GP if required.

Conservative treatment
If you are struggling to maintain your own nail cutting or if you have a nail shape prone to ingrowing we would provide you with conservative nail cutting treatment and advice to prevent the future occurrence of ingrowing nails.

Nail surgery
Minor surgery performed under local anaesthetic which involves partial or total removal of the offending nail and the use of a chemical to stop it regrowing. A very successful long term treatment option if the ingrowing nail is particularly bad or if ingrowing nails are a recurring problem.

If you are having any problems with a suspected ingrowing toenail, book in with one of our podiatrists who can confirm diagnosis and discuss an individualised treatment plan with you.

Related News & Resources