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Ingrowing Toenails

01 Overview

An Ingrowing toenail is where the nail digs in or irritates the skin around the toenail.

02 Details

What is an Ingrowing toenail?

Ingrowing toenails are commonly seen in the clinic. They can be extremely painful when wearing shoes and walking.

They can present in a variety of ways and the tissues around the nail can become inflamed and infected.

Ingrowing toenails can occur on any toe, but it is the big toe (Hallux) which is most commonly affected.

The medical term used for an ingrowing toenail is onychocryptosis.

Ingrowing toenails can affect all ages, however, teenagers are particularly affected, which often related to increased sweating.

There are various stages of ingrowing toenails in the early stage the tissues around the nail become inflamed and sore. As they progress the nail can penetrate the skin, and create a portal for infection to get in.

What Causes Ingrowing Toenails

  1. Tight Shoes 

    Wearing shoes that are too narrow or short can put increased pressure onto the toes creating an ingrowing toenail. Commonly seen in ladies wearing high narrow shoes and footballers who like to have their boots fitting snugly.

    A recent Study highlighted  63-72% of the population are wearing shoes that do not accommodate the foot in length or width.

  2. Trauma/Injury

    Dropping items, having your toe trodden and repetitive injuries such as kicking balls can lead for the nail to become inflamed and ingrowing.

  3. Poor Nail Cutting 

    Cutting your nails to short or down the sides of the nail can cause injury and lead onto an ingrowing nail.

  4. Nail Picking

    Picking nails is often a habit like biting your nails, this can cause damage to the nail plate and tear of the nail plate causing issues to the nail and skin around the nail.

  5. Hereditary

    We inherit the shape of our foot often from a parent or relative, this is also the case for nail plates as they often be wider and naturally have an increased curvature to them, creating a higher risk of experiencing and ingrowing toenail

What are my Treatment options!

Conservative Approach

  1. The painful toenail is assessed to identify the best possible treatment option.
  2. If the ingrown toenail is minor, a simple conservative nail trimming may be sufficient. In most scenarios, a minor ingrown toenail surgery is required. This is the most effective treatment option and is highly likely to provide a permanent solution to ingrown toenails.
  3. Ingrowing toenails can be prevented and treated if caught in the early stages. Treatment may include removing a small wedge of the nail and placing a piece of packing at the edge of the nail plate, to act as a buffer.
  4. Changing footwear to a wider and longer shoe can also help.
  5. If conservative treatments are unsuccessful nail surgery may be indicated.

If conservative treatment is unsuccessful or the ingrowing toenail is is an ongoing issue nail surgery is a good option.

Here is our nail surgery guide

How to make an Appointment

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Telephone: 020 8962 0635