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What is an ingrown toenail?

As a portion of nail punctures the surrounding skin it can cause pain, inflammation and at times infection. This is known as an ingrown toenail and is a common complaint that can be treated effectively by a Podiatrist.


Why does this happen?

There are many reasons this can occur including:

  • Cutting nails too short
  • Cutting or trimming the sides of the nail where it meets the skin
  • Picking toenails
  • Tight or ill-fitting shoes or hosiery
  • Excessive moisture (sweat)
  • Damage to the nail or toe
  • Fungal infection
  • Increased curve of the nail


How can I prevent this?

There are things you can do to prevent an ingrown toenail as part of your personal footcare routine. Further information and support available from our personal footcare site.

Important points to remember:

  • Ensure you are using the appropriate equipment and technique when cutting your nails.
  • Change socks regularly throughout the day to prevent increased moisture
  • Use of cotton socks rather than wool
  • Ensure footwear and hosiery are the appropriate fit (Page 17, ‘Looking after your feet’ booklet)


What do I do if I have an ingrown toenail?

If you have an ingrown toenail, and self-treatment has failed, you will require treatment by a qualified Podiatrist. To access podiatry treatment you can self-refer by contacting NHS GG&C Podiatry Referral Management Centre:

Phone: 0141 347 8909 (Monday – Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-1pm)

Email: [email protected]


What will happen at my appointment?

At your initial appointment the Podiatrist will assess your concerns, treatment options and the risks and benefits of treatments.  This will allow you to make an informed choice of your treatment plan. If there is infection present the podiatrist can arrange for antibiotics to treat the infection. Treatment may be performed on the day to remove the problematic portion of nail however, in some cases you may need further treatment which may require a local anaesthetic (nail surgery). Your Podiatrist will discuss all your treatment options and will refer you for nail surgery if deemed necessary.

If you would like to know more about nail surgery please click on the tile below.


Last Updated: 09 June 2020