Ingrowing Toenails

An ingrowing toenail is one that pierces the flesh of the toe. It can often be a splinter of nail digging into the flesh, and can be extremely painful. In more severe cases, it can become infected, producing pus and bleeding. Ingrowing toenails most commonly affect the large toenail, but can affect the other toes too. A nail that is curling (involuted or convoluted) into the flesh, but isn’t actually piercing the skin, isn’t a true ingrowing toenail, but can also be very painful and inflamed.

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What is the treatment for an ingrowing toenail?

If left untreated, and they become infected, the infection can spread to the rest of the toe and foot. The quicker you treat them, the less painful the treatment.

For the most basic ingrowing toenail, your podiatrist will carefully remove the offending spike of the nail. If you have involuted nails, your podiatrist may remove the bit that’s curling into the flesh and file the edges of the nail to relieve discomfort and advise on preventing this from happening again. If you have bleeding or discharge from the toe, you may need antibiotics to beat the infection, after having the offending spike removed. If you are particularly prone to ingrowing toenails, your podiatrist may recommend a more permanent solution to treat the nail problem.

Partial nail avulsion’s (PNA) is done under a local anaesthetic where a small section of the offending nail edge is removed including the growing area at the base of the nail, so the nail becomes slightly narrower. A chemical is used to prevent the nail re-growing along the offending edge. After surgery, the overall appearance of the nail looks normal – to the extent that some people even forget which nail they’ve had done!

What to do before seeing a podiatrist?

Once you’ve booked an appointment with us, help relieve the discomfort in the meantime by bathing your foot in a warm salty footbath. This will help prevent infection and reduce inflammation. After the foot bath put a clean, dry dressing over the area to keep it clean. Rest your foot as much as possible and wear shoes with plenty of room, or open toes.

If you have diabetes, are taking steroids or are on anti-coagulants, don’t attempt any form of self-treatment by trying to remove the ingrowing spike of the nail yourself; refer to your podiatrist as soon as you can.


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Whether you need to make or change an appointment, want to find out more about a specific therapy or have a general question, our dedicated and knowledgeable staff are available to help. To get in touch, simply give us a call during opening hours or send us a message using the contact form and we will get in touch.

What our clients say

I have been attending this clinic for the last 13 – 14 years. I have problems with ingrowing toenails and have had nail surgery. The care I received was excellent both with the surgery and aftercare

Pam Marshall-Jones

I was quite anxious on my first visit, having never used any service like this before, but they immediately put me at ease. They are so welcoming and friendly, knowledgeable and informative. The clinic is exceptionally well run, clean and organised and I feel in safe hands. Now it’s one of my favourite health “jobs” to do

Mandy Rowbottom

This was my first visit to a podiatrist. I was really impressed on my first visit and everyone was very friendly. They diagnosed my problem very quickly and knew exactly what to do. I was immediately put at ease and, although the problem has required further treatment, I feel that my feet are in very good hands!!! Thank you!!!

Philip Reilly

Very quickly established the cause of issues and a plan to get it sorted. Each appointment has been excellent and very clear on how to tackle the problem. Fingers crossed for flip-flops in the summer!

Laura Starkie

Very positive experience. Lovely people and excellent treatment over several years. My feet are kept in prime condition!

Robert Bogin

Very professional, excellent service, and always a friendly face! You would be hard pushed to find a better Podiatrist.

Sue Sturla-Joy