Ingrown Toenails

We are available to see and treat bupa patients
We also see Bupa registered Patients for nail surgery

An ingrown toenail is often described as creating a splinter-like sensation in the toenail. When inflamed or infected, an ingrown toenail can result in a very sore toe.

Usually, an ingrown toenail is where a piece of nail pierces the flesh of the toe. This usually affects the big toenail but can impact other toes too. In severe cases, an ingrown toenail can cause pus and bleeding. 

There are many factors that can make you prone to ingrown toenails, including:

  • Your standing posture
  • How you walk
  • If you have a bunion
  • If you have a hammer toe
  • Excessive pronation of the feet (when your foot rolls too far inward )
  • If your nails have a natural tendency to splay or curl out instead of growing straight
  • If you cut your nails too low to relieve the pressure and discomfort of an involuted nail — this habit is very common.
  • Tight footwear, hosiery or socks which can push your toe flesh onto the nail so that it pierces the skin
  • If you sweat excessively or don’t rotate your footwear, as this makes the skin moist and easier to penetrate
  • If your nails are brittle or little bits tend to break off 

It’s likely you will know if you have an ingrown toenail because:

  • Your toe will be very sore
  • The pain will be followed by inflammation in the surrounding nail area

However, it’s not always this easy to identify an ingrown toenail. Sometimes the pain can be attributed to the following:

  • A curly nail which has collected dirt or fluff underneath it. A nail that’s curling (involuted or convoluted) into the flesh, but isn’t actually piercing the skin, is unlikely to be an ingrown toenail. However, it can still feel very painful and can also appear red and inflamed.
  • A corn or callus on the side of the nail. If it is a corn or callus, you are likely to experience throbbing pain rather than the sharp pain of an ingrown toenail

At Footfocus Podiatry, your treatment options will vary depending on the factors causing your ingrown toenail and the severity of your symptoms: 

1. If the cause of your ingrown toenail is fluff or debris, your Footfocus podiatrist will remove it and, if necessary, thin the nail. The offending spike of nail will be removed and covered with an antiseptic dressing. 

2. For toes too painful to touch, a local anaesthetic will be injected before removing the offending part of the nail. 

3. For toes that have bleeding or discharge from an infection around the nail,  or even excessive healing flesh (hypergranulation tissue) around the nail, we will prescribe antibiotics to manage the infection. We will also remove the offending spike of nail and cover with an antiseptic dressing. 

4. If there is a particular underlying reason for your ingrown toenail, we will identify and discuss the appropriate action to help prevent it from growing back. We may recommend performing a poor gait, a partial nail avulsion (PNA), along with finding a more permanent solution to the underlying condition. Where appropriate, a total nail avulsion (TNA) may be performed, where the entire nail plate and root are removed.

Removing part or all of the nail is done under a local anaesthetic where part of the nail is removed (including the root), leaving a permanently narrower nail. We use the chemical phenol to cauterise the nail and prevent it from regrowing.

We perform this procedure weekly and have seen first-hand the high success rate (95%) that partial and total nail removal has in treating ingrown toenails. As we adopt a complete approach to health, from the feet up, we are dedicated to providing you with an effective and comprehensive ingrown toenail treatment.

If left untreated, an infection from an ingrown toenail can develop throughout your foot and, in very rare cases, enter the bloodstream. 

You should also visit a podiatrist if you experience:

  • Any persistent pain in your toe from the ingrown toenail
  • If you have a condition that affects the nerves and/or feeling in your foot
  • If you have any foot care issues that do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care within three weeks

You should see a podiatrist urgently if you have:

  • Symptoms of infection
  • If you suspect you have an ingrown toenail and have diabetes, poor circulation or a reduced immune system

Constant development in our skills, knowledge and state of the art technology means we are able to give you the highest quality care possible. We are completely committed to providing you with professional, proactive and friendly foot care that will enable you to enjoy an active life.

Book an appointment today to avoid the pain and discomfort of an ingrown toenail. For proactive support and advice on how to prevent future foot concerns, book a Podiatry appointment. 

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Unit B, 1st Floor
2-8 Aerodrome Studios
Airfield Way
Christchurch
BH23 3TS
We look forward to treating you there.