Is there anything worse than an ingrown toenail?

Painful toenails really are a pain in the…well…in the foot. Is there anything worse? Probably but this issue is way up there on the pain scales.

Not being able to take a step in your shoes without searing pain in your toe is really awful. Those of you who haven’t experienced this, count yourself lucky. Many of us will have stubbed their toe or cut our nails badly at some point and we just hope the damage grows out and that’s the end of it, but sometimes it can go horribly wrong and progress to a nasty weeping problem.

With pressures on the NHS currently, especially GPs and nurses, an appointment to get this sorted is not easy and you may end up waiting a long time to get this looked at. But why go to a GP when you can visit a healthcare practitioner that specialises in the foot? If you have a sore toenail, you really need to see a podiatrist.

Podiatrists are experts in the lower limb and have special training to deal with all kinds of issues. One of those is ingrown toenails. An ingrown nail is specifically when a piece of nail has pierced the skin and there is a weeping wound – this is usually very sore and can quite easily lead to a bacterial infection if not attended to. With the best will in the world, even if you clean your feet each morning in the shower, the foot is covered in microbes by the end of a day in shoes and socks. These microbes (bacteria usually) can migrate and colonise in the wound to cause localised infection.

If you have painful nails but there is no open wound or weeping/discharge from the toe, these are called involuted nails. Involuted nails are curled at the sides and cause pressure between the skin and nail – these are not technically ingrown nails but are very painful nonetheless and can be treated in the same way.


So how can a podiatrist help me? We can assess the problem; your footwear may need altering, we may be able to cut the nails in a certain way reducing pressure down the side of the nail, or we may decide that you need to have a part or all of the nail removed. If there is a spike of nail growing into the skin around it is often too sore to touch or treat, so we offer a procedure under local anaesthetic. The procedure is called a partial nail avulsion (PNA) or wedge resection. This is a minor procedure that we do everyday with great success.


What does the surgery involve? It usually involves 2 injections, one into either side of the toe. We then remove a small amount of nail (the amount is discussed with you before we start) and then drop a chemical at the base of the nail to stop the nail growing back.


What sort of aftercare do I have to do? The wound is generally very easy to look after. The only minor inconvenience is that we ask you to keep it dry for the first week or two while it heals over. You have to clean and dress it each day and we check the wound for you every two weeks until you have healed. At Supafoot we are able to supply you with antibiotics in the unlikely event that an infection occurs.

What does my toe look like after the surgery? You end up with a slightly narrower nail and generally a really good cosmetic outcome. Very occasionally there might be some discolouration or damage to the nail near where we have been working but this usually grows out in time. There are risks with all procedures but at Supafoot we have strict guidelines that we adhere to, to reduce risks as much as we possibly can.

If you think we could help you with a painful toenail then give one of our clinics a call, book online or email us.



Tel: 0121 7703040, email: or book online



Tel: 01242 321242 , email: or book online

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