A curved toenail that grows into the skin, an ingrown toenail can physically pierce the skin, causing redness, swelling and pain.
A common condition, especially in teenagers and young adults, ingrown toenails may become infected causing increased levels of pain. An infection can also cause further complications, particularly to people with poor immune systems or diabetes.
- Redness, swelling and pain in skin around the ingrown nail
- Warmth in the toe
- Fluid build up
- Overgrowth of skin around the affected toe
- Pus (white or yellow) from the affected area
Badly cut toenails are one of the main causes of ingrowing toenails. Nails that are cut too short can encourage the skin to fold over the nail, and in turn, cause the nail to grow into the skin. The natural shape of the nail may also increase the likelihood of it growing into the skin.
Tight fitting footwear, including shoes, socks and tights can press the skin around the toenail, which can then be pierced.
Another cause could be sweaty feet. This softens the skin making it easier for the toenail to pierce. Wearing well-fitting cotton socks may be advisable, and keeping the skin dry may also help.
An injury to the nail, such as the result of a stubbed toe can also lead to an ingrown toenail.
Provided the area has not become infected, it may be possible to cure an ingrown toenail at home.
Regularly bathing the toe in warm water can help to keep the area clean, and soften the folds around the nail. The skin can then be pushed away from the nail with a cotton bud. Over time, this could encourage the nail to grow over the skin and not into it.
Repeatedly cutting the nail can cause the condition to worsen, so the temptation to do this should be avoided. Instead, trim the nails when they’re clear of the end of the toe. Toenails should be cut in a straight line, without rounding off the ends, and not too short.
If the toe does become infected, antibiotics will be required to treat it. Quickly treating infections is especially important for people who suffer from diabetes or have a low immune system.
For persistent ingrown toenails, it may be necessary to remove part or all of the nail.
Partial nail avulsion – A common operation, the toe is numbed using a local anaesthetic, and the edge of the toenail cut away, right to the base, allowing the wedge of nail to be removed. The chemical phenol is then applied to the affected area to prevent the nail from growing back in that part of the toe and becoming ingrown again.
Total nail avulsion – In some cases the whole nail needs to be removed, including the root. Phenol is then applied to the nail bed, preventing new nail formation.
Find out more about how we can help treat Ingrown toenails
To find out more about how we can help treat your Ingrown toenails or for more information about Total Foot Surgery, contact us on 07449419401 or use our online contact form.