Ingrowing toenail – how to fix it

An ingrown toenailAn ingrowing toenail is one of the most common and painful conditions we see as Podiatrists, but they are also one of the most easily fixed. They usually affect the big toenails and occur when a sharp piece of nail grows into the skin, causing swelling, pain, inflammation and sometimes infection.

They can be caused by inappropriate nail cutting, or picking and tearing of the nail, or sometimes the natural shape of the nail can cause it to ingrow. Narrow footwear and trauma to the nails from sporting activities for example, can also contribute. Ingrowing nails are quite common in children, especially teenage boys.

Ingrowing toenail myth busting!

  • Cutting a “V” into the nail will not help to relieve an ingrown nail.
  • Not all ingrown nails need antibiotics. They will help with any infection, but this is short-lived as the problematic piece of nail is still there.

What about treatments?

Early intervention is key! If an ingrowing toenail is caught in the early stages then it can be managed easily and quickly by gently removing the offending piece of nail. However, once the inflammation around the nail becomes too severe then the nail begins to act like a foreign body, and the skin tries to heal itself by producing extra tissue which is very vascular and bleeds easily.

In these cases, a simple, quick surgical procedure is usually needed, performed under local anaesthetic, to remove part or all of the offending nail. A chemical can be applied to the nail bed to prevent the ingrowing section of the nail from growing back and causing the same issues in future. The entire process takes about an hour and full healing takes up to 6 weeks if the chemical has been applied.

Nail surgery is one of our clinical specialities here at One Step Ahead. You don’t need to struggle with a painful ingrown nail. Why not give us a call and see how we can help?


Find out more about ingrown nails on the Royal College of Podiatry website.