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Ingrown Toenail Treatment

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is nail which grows into the flesh or the tissues on the side of the nail. This causes pain, redness and swelling of the surrounding tissues. If left untreated an ingrown toenail can lead to infection. A Podiatrist is best trained to diagnose, treat and prevent ingrown toenails.

Ingrown Toenail - Viewbank Podiatry

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails are the result of a sharp edge, corner or spike of nail that penetrates the surrounding tissues or sulcus.


The resultant forces on the nail push the nail deeper into the surrounding tissues. Nails which curl inwards and dig into the flesh are more prone to ingrown toenails.

 Ingrown toenails can become infected which in when you will start to notice, pus or purulent (yellow/white or green discharge), increased swelling, throbbing, hypergranulation tissue (overlying red bump like appearance).


There are a number of factors that can cause nail spikes and lead to ingrown toenails. These include:

  • Incorrect Nail Cutting, cutting down the corners.

  • Trauma, ‘bumping’ your toe, someone stepping on your toe

  • Genetic factors, nails which curve inwards

  • Tearing, picking or biting your toenails

  • Poor foot function or gait, including flatfeet and misaligned toes

  • Poor fitting, tight or restrictive footwear


Our Podiatrists at Viewbank Podiatry treat the cause of your ingrown toenail which is removal of the offending nail spike.


Unless you remove the offending nail spike an ingrown toenail will generally worsen. Patients who sometimes self-treat their own nails are often only partially successful at removing some of the nail spike. This may only provide short term relief, until the nail becomes further embedded. Often the remaining nail edge still has a sharp corner and the ingrown toenail returns, making the condition worse.

Once your Ingrown toenail has been assessed a management plan is developed and your treating podiatrist will discuss this with you.

Our first ideal option is to always go for a more conservative approach to treating an Ingrown toenail. 

From identifying the cause of the Ingrown toenail and checking for nail spikes your treating podiatrist will use a clipper and a small blade to remove the nail spike. This is a low risk option with minimal pain experienced. After the nail spike/ Ingrown toenail has been removed the podiatrist will check the area through palpation to ensure that the pain has reduced/ is gone. 

Very often the patient can feel instant relief. 

Note there will still be inflammation/ redness present for a few days post treatment. The area is cleansed and dressed appropriately. This may include the area being packed with a small piece of foam underneath the nail to aid in regrowing of the nail properly and then dressed Betadine and Cutiplast. 


Ingrown toenails are always best treated early before they progress to the chronic stage. Generally a painful ingrown toenail can be successfully treated in one visit, unless it has progressed to a more chronic state. 

Painful Toenail - Viewbank Podiatry
Nail Surgery - Viewbank Podiatry

Fixing an Ingrown Toenail with Surgery

Chronic ingrown toenails may require Surgery to successfully treat the problem. In these cases the nail has grown and embedded deeper in the surrounding tissues. These nails are generally too painful to treat conservatively.  Nail surgery performed by a trained podiatrist can cure a chronic ingrown toenail permanently. 

Ingrown toenail surgery is often needed for both children and adults. It is a simple “walk in walk out” procedure performed under sterile conditions in our 

Antibiotics and ingrown toenails

Antibiotics can be very useful in reducing infection. It is still important that the offending nail is alleviated, otherwise the condition may continue to flare, requiring multiple courses of antibiotics.


If the spike is not removed then the infection will simply return once the course of antibiotics has ceased.

More commonly, antibiotics are not required. Your Podiatrist may simply remove the spike of nail and provide advice on correct nail cutting. 


If you suffer from an Ingrown Toenail or painful toenails, see one of our experienced Podiatrists today. 

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