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Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is when the sharp sides of the toenail grows into the skin at the side, or on the end of the toe, causing pain and inflammation. It usually affects the big toe.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Causes include:

  • Toenails that are too short or cutting the edges of the toenail
  • Shoes or socks/tights that are too tight
  • Stubbing your toe
  • The shape of your nail – curved sides can press into the surrounding skin
  • Fungal nail infections that cause the nail to be thicker
  • Loss of a nail

What are the signs of an ingrown toenail?

You may notice that the toe is painful when there is pressure on it, and this can make wearing your normal shoes uncomfortable. The toe may also become red and swollen and, in some cases, it may bleed or become infected.

What does treatment involve?

  • Wearing shoes that are comfortable is important and, to avoid infection, it’s important to keep the area clean and to change socks or tights regularly
  • If your foot is infected, you may be prescribed antibiotics
  • Cutting your toenails straight across can also help prevent the problem becoming worse
  • In some cases, you may need to have surgery to remove the toenail. Afterwards, unless the nail bed has been removed, the nail should be able to grow back

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.