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Ingrown Toenails

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the skin on one or both sides of the nail bed. It is a common problem among both adults and children, which is often painful and may or may not be accompanied by a toenail infection. Most commonly ingrown toenails occur in the big toe, but can also affect smaller toes.


Why do I get ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails generally develop due to one or a combination of the following:

  • Incorrect toenail cutting technique (i.e. cutting too much or not enough, or tearing your nails instead of cutting them)
  • Natural toenail shape/structure (i.e. curved (known as involuted), broad and/or thick)
  • Wearing socks and/or shoes that don’t fit correctly
  • Trauma, such as stubbing your toe


What are the treatment options?

First thing you should know is that treating an ingrown toenail does not need to be painful. Ingrown toenails can be treated two ways. Conservatively with care from a podiatrist; this generally involves:

  • Carefully removing the offending toenail edge/spike, with or without local anesthetic
  • Applying a dressing and giving you daily self-care instructions (if necessary)
  • Referring you to your doctor to get an antibiotic prescription (if necessary)
  • Identifying the reason/s why the ingrown toenail developed


Occasionally an ingrown toenail will not respond to conservative treatment. This is more likely if it’s very severe or has existed for a long time. In this case, our podiatrists may recommend a small surgical procedure to permanently remove the offending toenail edge/spike. This can be performed by our podiatrists. It is a low-complication procedure with a high success rate. 


Our podiatrists at Sydney Podiatry Co have all the experience and knowledge to tend to even the most painful of ingrown toenails. Your precious toes are in our capable hands.