What Are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when a nail spicule, or edge of the nail, pierces the skin and causes a bacterial infection.

They are a very common reason for people to visit a podiatrist, as they can be very painful and normally do not resolve without removal of the aggravating nail spicule or jagged edge.

Sometimes what feels like an ingrown toenail can often  be caused by a callus or corn in the nail groove, which is best left to a podiatrist to remove.

Ingrown Toenails Snapshot

  • Commonly occurring
  • Can be very painful
  • Easily treatable with conservative care or minor surgery


Causes of an Ingrown Toenail

  • Poor nail cutting technique.
  • Trauma.
  • Sweaty feet.
  • Ill fitting footwear.
  • Hereditary (curved nail shape).
  • Being overweight.
  • Occupation (wearing rubber. boots/ working in water).


Ingrown Toenail Symptoms

  • Pain down the edge of your nail.
  • Signs of infection may be evident (e.g redness, swelling, heat and pus).
  • Symptoms may not respond with antibiotics alone, as the offending nail edge needs to be removed before symptoms will settle.


Treatment for an Ingrown Toenail


  • Spicule or nail edge removed and cleared by a podiatrist.
  • Skin may need to be taped and pulled away from the edge to let the nail grow out.
  • Packing underneath the nail edge, by a podiatrist, to lift the nail out of the surrounding skin.
  • An appropriate antimicrobial dressing regime followed.
  • Antibiotics if signs of infection are present.
  • Appropriate footwear and reductions of pressure on the toe.


Permanent or temporary ingrown toenail surgery, involving removal of the offending nail edge, may be performed under local anesthetic. The podiatrist will explain all procedures and associated risks during your consultation.

Other Nail Infections

Other Nail Infections

Other infections can occur around the nail area causing inflammation of the nail matrix (onychia) and the skin surrounding the nail (paronychia). In people with lowered immunity, this can cause serious complications, including more widespread infection extending further up the leg. Your podiatrist can assist in this diagnosis.

Ingrown toenails should be seen promptly by a podiatrist before pain and infection become too severe. Well Heeled Podiatry is experienced in both the conservative and surgical treatments of ingrown toenails.

They will explain the reason for your ingrown toenail and preventative strategies to reduce risks of recurrence, such as demonstrating appropriate nail cutting techniques and footwear choices.

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