Ingrowing Toenail Overview

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An ingrowing toenail is a painful condition of the toe. It happens when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the skin at the side or end of the toes.

Any toenail can become ingrown, but usually occurs in the big toe.

Free telephone consultations – find out more about treatments and help available and get the best advice.

Pain and inflammation happens first when the digs into the skin. After the area can become infected and grow extra tissue.

If left untreated the toe can become very infected and inflamed and may require surgical treatment.

Ingrowing toenails are a very common problem in both adults and teenagers and are more common in men than in women.


Cutting toenails in the wrong way, picking or pulling the corner of nails can cause the corner to dig into the skin. Tight-fitting shoes or high heels cause the toes to be compressed together and pressure the nail to grow abnormally.

Either an acute injury near the nail or anything that causes the nail to be damaged repetitively (such as playing football) can also cause an ingrown nail.

Disorders such as fungal infections of the nail can cause a thickened or widened toenail to develop.

If a member of your family has an ingrown toenail, then you are more likely to develop one, too. Some people’s nails are normally more rounded than others, which increases the chance of developing ingrown nails.


If no acute infection is found, then the nail will be examined and conservative treatment recommended. This consists of salt water soaks, antiseptics, and frequent cleaning of the nail.We may cut the nail down and file the sharp area and if any extra tissue has grown up around the inflamed area of skin, we may choose to remove the extra tissue to help it heal faster. We will numb the area before removal of any tissue.

Surgical Removal

The podiatrist will inject anesthetic medicine at the point where the toe joins with the foot. This will make the entire toe numb. We will then drain the infection from the end of the toe or remove the extra tissue that has grown around the end of the nail. We will then remove a portion of the nail so that the skin or infection can heal without the nail pushing on it.

We will then destroy some of the cells that make the nail grow back by applying a chemical (phenol) to the skin under the nail. This is so that the edge of the nail that caused the problem will not return, which is more likely with severe or recurring infections. Back to work or sports in a few days and healing time normally 3 to 6 weeks.

To find out how we can help you and your ingrowing nail ring 01 5394322