The correct term for an ingrowing toenail is onycryptosis. Ingrowing nails usually do not rectify themselves and you may need professional intervention such as nail surgery. If left untreated, an ingrowing nail can lead to infection of the toe. Therefore, if you are concerned, visit an HCPC registered Podiatrist / Chiropodist who is professionally trained and regulated. Many of which are qualified in administration (POM-A), and sale/supply of prescription only medicines (POM-S). A Chiropodist / Podiatrist with the POM-S annotation is able to supply you with antibiotics if required.
Podiatrists / Chiropodists at Podiatry Pro are fully BSc. (Hons) qualified, have both POM-A & POM-S annotations, and are HCPC registered. To check a Chiropodist’s / Podiatrist’s registration and annotations, search for them on the HCPC register. Choose ‘Chiropodist / Podiatrist’ from the drop down menu and enter their surname or registration number.
There are several causes of an ingrown toe nail but, most commonly it is due to:
Badly cut nails
If you have cut down the side of the nail or torn it, you can easily leave a sharp spike. As the nail grows, the spike can start to work its way into the side of your toe. This will eventually become painful and require professional treatment from a Podiatrist / Chiropodist.
Badly shaped nails
Whether it is due to genetics or trauma, a nail can over time become badly shaped. The nail shape, sometimes involuting, can increase pressure on the skin to the sides of the nail. Over time the nail can cut into or pinch the skin making it uncomfortable or painful.
Often, we can conservatively treat these nails without nail surgery. Conservative treatments can be carried out with a local anesthetic injection. However, nails that cannot be treated conservatively or have reoccurring problems, will usually require nail surgery.
Did you know that nail surgery does not always mean the loss of the whole nail? Often, we can keep the majority of the nail by just removing the offending section.
The types of procedures available are either total removal or, partial removal of the nail. A total removal will remove all of the nail. Usually, if the whole nail is problematic, this is a good option. A partial removal can be one side or both sides of the nail, leaving the remaining section in tact. Usually, if it is just one or both sides, this is a good option. Every nail is different and your clinician can help give you all the information and recommend the best procedure for you.
For more information, watch the video made by the College of Podiatry on nail surgery below.