Here are some of the most common causes:
- Poor fitting footwear – wearing shoes that are too tight
- Genetic nail conditions – having an abnormal shaped nail, or brittle nails that break leaving sharp edges
- Altered gait (walking) pattern
- Poorly cut nails – cutting a nail too short or leaving sharp edges
- Injury – either dropping something on the nail or injuring it playing sports or long distance running
- Foot irregularity or deformity such as hammer toes or bunions, or having very flat feet or high arches.
Signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails
There are a number of common signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail; an early symptom is that the surrounding nail becomes red and painful with mild swelling and it may feel warm to touch.
Here are the main signs and symptoms; you may experience some or all of them:
- Hard skin near the nail
- Tenderness around the nail
- Swelling around the skin and nail
- Toenail may be bleeding
- A curved painful toe nail
- The toe is painful
- Redness around the edge and base of the nail
- The toe may be hot
- Pus or infection may be present
Early diagnosis and treatment is important, and may affect how this condition is managed, so if you have any of these symptoms then don’t delay in seeking help from one of our expert Podiatrists.
Conservative treatment of ingrown toenails
- Deep/wide fitting footwear that don’t put pressure on toenail
- Soaking toe in warm salty water
- Conservative trimming of nail completed regularly by a Podiatrist
- Nail Surgery – removal of part of the nail or the whole nail
Ingrown toenail surgery
You may be tempted to try and remove a painful ingrown toenail on your own or visit your local nail salon for help, but it’s safer (and far less painful) to have it removed by a professional.
It’s a fairly routine procedure that our expert team of podiatrists can perform under local anaesthetic, as an outpatient procedure at one of our London clinics.
This procedure is very effective and permanent treatment with a very high success rate.
- Anaesthesia: After an assessment to determine patient suitability for this procedure. Two local anaesthetic injections are performed to ensure a pain-free procedure.
- Nail Removal: Once the toe is numb an appropriate amount of nail will be removed.
- Matrix Removal: If performing a permanent procedure a chemical (phenol) will be applied to destroy the exposed nail bed. This ensures that part of the removed nail never grows back again this ensures a 95% success rate.
- Dressing & Aftercare: The toe is then dressed with a large bandage.
- After the procedure you are required to rest and take pain relief (if required).
- This procedure takes around one hour. You can walk normally afterwards but are required to bring flip flops, and cannot drive for 24 hours.
- Healing Time: Healing times may vary on a case by case basis but healthy uncomplicated surgical cases may take up to 3-6 weeks before being fully healed. This healing period is usually painless.
Is the procedure painful?
This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and as such it is a pain-free operation. Following the procedure there is also usually very little discomfort and most patients do not require any pain relief medication. Some patients experience mild to moderate symptoms which are easily managed with over the counter medication such as paracetamol. We do not advise patients to take aspirin as this medication has a blood thinning action and can increase postoperative bleeding.
Risks of nail surgery
This procedure is a safe and effective method of treating ingrown toenails and is considered the gold standard. As with any procedure there are some risks but these will be discussed during the course of taking informed consent.