Ingrown Toenail Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


An ingrown toenail is when the side of your toenail curls and pierces you skin.

  • What causes an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail can be caused by poor fitting footwear, foot type, injury to the nail, thickening of the nail, excessive sweating, cutting nails too short.

  • What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail can include pain, redness, swelling and the release of puss if infection is present.

  • What are the treatments available for ingrown toenails?

Treatment at home includes wearing footwear and socks that allow your toes to move. Soften the skin around the nail using ointment or nail softener. Take pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce swelling.

  • What treatments are available from a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist may either treat the ingrown toe nail conservatively or through minor surgery.


Conservative treatment can include removing the offending nail portion and inserting cotton wool under the nail edge allowing normal growth. Success depends on the severity of the ingrown toenail.


Ingrown toenail surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. The edge of the toenail is cut straight making it narrower. In some cases removing the whole nail may be necessary.

If infection is present antibiotics may be issued. The surgery takes between 30-45 min to perform. After the surgery is performed a large dressing will be applied and patient is advised to rest for between 24-48 hours.

Post operative advice includes changing the dressing to a simple mepore dressing and salt water bathing every 24 hours until full healing of the wound is achieved.

For help and advice with ingrown toenails, please contact Central FootClinic in Derby on freephone 0800 6444 201

Adnan Nazir

Blog compiled by Adnan Nazir, Specialist Podiatrist, Central FootClinic



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