Ingrowing Toenails

What is an Ingrowing Toenail?

An ingrowing toenail is when part of your toenail, commonly the edges or corners, penetrates into the skin which can be very painful and result in an infection.

What causes an Ingrowing Toenail?

An ingrowing toenail can be caused by an number of different factors including but not limited to;

Unsanitary and unqualified nail technicians and nail salons improperly trimming toenails;

  • Cutting the corning of the toenail at a slanted angle
  • Sports that require a lot of sudden stopping and turning (soccer, basketball, tennis, racquetball, etc.) which can cause irritation of the nail folds through bumping or rubbing on the inside of the shoe
  • Tight footwear
  • Fungal infections of the skin can make the skin too moist and more prone to the injury that starts an ingrown toenail
  • Diabetes can cause numbness in the foot and toes preventing a person feeling the early discomfort that would be associated with ingrown toenails

What does an Ingrowing Toenail look like?

Since ingrowing nails affect the edge or corners of the nail and penetrate deep, you will have difficulty seeing the edge of your nail. The severity of the condition can vary with some cases involving the edge of the nail penetrating the skin and more severe case involving the corner of the nail cutting into your toe like a knife. The affected area will become red, inflamed and be quite painful.

The main symptom of an ingrowing toenail is pain, this can begin as mild discomfort due to the pressure of the nail pressing into the skin. As the problem increases and the nail begins to penetrate the skin the pain increases. It is at this stage that an infection is more likely to occur and when the area may become red, swollen, painful and in some cases develop a collection of puss.

Below are some images to assist you with identifying an ingrowing toenail:

How is an Ingrowing Toenail Treated?

The goal of any initial treatment is to relieve the pain, and clear the infection or inflammation. If the toe isn’t infected, a podiatrist may be able to carefully trim the ingrown toenail edge and fix the problem.

However, an infected ingrown toenail most often needs to have a portion of the nail removed. In severe cases, the entire nail may need to be removed, but it will grow back. Local anaesthetic can be used to numb the toe to lessen the pain. A bandage is usually placed on the toe by the podiatrist after treatment. Activities can usually be resumed the following day.

The best news about ingrowing toenail treatment is that the relief is usually immediate. Most patients feel much better immediately after the painful portion of nail is removed. It also heals very quickly. When antibiotics are required, it is important to finish the entire prescription.

At Medical Pedicure we have trained and qualified Podiatrists who can help prevent an ingrowing toenail, through correct nail cutting/trimming procedures.


You do not need to live with the pain and discomfort caused by an ingrowing toenail. Call our clinic reception on (03) 8645 9888 or email us an appointment request.