Ingrown Toe Nail

What is an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are a common condition in which the side of a toenail grows into the
skin, which can occur on both sides of the same nail. When the nail breaks through the skin it produces inflammation. This may result in redness, pain and swelling at the corner of the nail followed by an infection. Sometimes a small amount of pus can be seen draining from the area.

Causes of ingrown toenail:

An ingrown toe nail is caused by toe nails that grow inside the skin either as a result of trauma or poor nail cutting. Some people have naturally wide or curved nails that are predisposed to developing ingrown toe nail problems. People of all ages can develop ingrown toe nail problems. We see patients of all ages for ingrown toenail issues.

Infected ingrown toenail:

The are can become infected with extra tissue growth around the toe nail as the body tries to contain the foreign body reaction. This is known as hyper-granulation tissue. Pus, discharge and redness results due to infection and antibiotics may be needed as treatment, as well as removing the ingrown nail if it persists.


Symptoms of ingrown toenail:

The most common symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain, tenderness and swelling around your toenail, usually the big toe. If it becomes infected, pus may drain from the affected area.

Treatment of ingrown toenails:

Following an assessment, your specialist may advise on one of the following treatments:

  • In very mild cases the nail can be cut back carefully to remove a spike with or without local anaesthesia (depending on pain and severity). 
  • Partial or full nail avulsion
  • Surgical Excision
  • Subungual exostectomy procedure

Frequently asked questions

You should avoid cutting an ingrown toenail and instead see a podiatrist who is best qualified to fix the problem permanently.

Most of the time an ingrown toenail is caused by badly cutting the nails and leaving a sharp edge down the side. Other times they can gradually develop because of the shape of the nail and from pressure from your shoes.

Discomfort and pain will gradually develop along with reddening of the area. If left, you will sometimes see some bleeding and scabbing. If the toenail develops an infection you might see some pus and a bad smell.

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