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Ingrowing Toenails

Common name

  • Ingrown nail or infalluted nail

Who does it affect?

Ingrowing toenails tend to occur more commonly in younger people particularly adolescents. They tend to occur with people who have quite thin brittle nails, old people with moist skin as in adolescents, old people with curved toenails. They can be directly caused by inappropriate trimming of the nails by cutting down the side, leaving a spiky nail or they can occur spontaneously.


Pain is the overwhelming symptom with redness, swelling and often infection in the early stages. If they are left untreated they often go on to become grossly swollen with thickened inflammatory tissue (hypo granulation tissue).


If they are treated early they can be treated very simply by removing the offending spike of nail and this can be done very simply without needing to resort to a surgical procedure. At this point education can be given on the appropriate ways to trim the nails without recurrence.

If they are left without early treatment and they develop into an infected in growing toenail with hypergranulation tissue then often a surgical procedure is required where the side of the nail is removed usually under either a local or general anaesthetic. In recurrent or very advanced cases the whole nail can be removed where the nail bed is treated with a chemical or is removed surgically and stitched. It is important to note that early treatment is strongly recommended.




Tim Clough is an Orthopaedic consultant specialising exclusively in the surgery of the Foot, Ankle      Content copyright © 2016 Tim Clough                  web design copyright by it@ph