The pain of an ingrowing toenail can be very irritating. The painful sensation with every step you take can be very hard to live with. Whether you’ve got a predisposition to them, you’ve overdone the nail clipping, been squeezing into those shoes that are a little too tight or they come as a side effect of your regular workout, here’s some information to help you understand what’s causing it and how to help alleviate the pressure.
With an estimated 10,000 new cases* in the UK each year, ingrown toenail is very common. It develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin – causing redness, inflammation and in severe cases can sometimes leading to a localised infection.
The big toe is most commonly affected – either on one or both sides of the nail. The first signs include redness around the nail bed, tenderness of the skin at the end of the toe and pain if pressure is applied to the area. More progressive symptoms if the nail pierces the skin can include infection where fluid oozes from the nail (usually yellow or green in colour), bleeding and increased levels of pain.
An ingrowing toenail typically affects teenagers and young adults the most. A number of things can cause an ingrowing toenail to develop and if left untreated, could pierce the skin.
Many things can cause an ingrowing toenail, including:
Ingrowing toenails are not usually serious, however in some cases without treatment, an ingrown toenail could become infected. The following steps can help avoid developing an ingrowing toenail:
*Figures from the Pharmaceutical Journal. Accessed: June 2019.
Please see a healthcare professional if home treatments are not helping, if the toe is very painful, bleeding or infected and if you have a high temperature.