A Case of the Dreaded Ingrown Toenail

Man and woman holding hands barefoot

A Case of the Dreaded Ingrown Toenail

23, Oct 2019

The Dreaded Ingrown Toe Nail

Most people will have a touch of it at some stage and it is one of the most common problems that clients come to see us about at Carlow Foot Care … The dreaded ingrowing toenail!


Both painful and irritating, a toenail that begins to grow into the skin at the side can be caused by a few factors.

Some people are quite familiar with the notion that tight-fitting shoes such as high heels can put pressure on nails and cause problems but did you know that ingrowing toenails can also be hereditary? Another cause of ingrowing toenails is repetitive stress. This can often be the case for those that take part in sports regularly such as runners and also dancers. For example, I often treat children who take part in Irish dancing for ingrowing toenail problems

Addressing the first point, any podiatrist will tell you that the right footwear is important for keeping your feet healthy. However, I think this is probably a topic for another blog!


Ingrowing toenails can be treated either by ‘conservative’ means or by simple surgical procedure. To treat conservatively, a podiatrist would cut the section of the nail that is growing into the skin. The benefits of this form of treatment are that it is relatively painless and quick. It also provides instant relief. The issues associated are that the nail will grow back. If an ingrowing toenail is a persistent problem and a client would like to eradicate the problem, then we can offer a simple surgical option. The client is given a local anaestheticF to numb the toe and the podiatrist will cut away the whole section of the nail, which is ingrowing. A chemical called ‘phenol’ is then applied to the exposed nail bed, which causes a small burn to the skin and prevents further growth of that small section of the nail. This treatment has a small recovery time and requires the nail to stay dressed for a day or so. It is also not suitable for those under 12 or anyone that is pregnant or has a heart condition.

In growing toenails can be a pain (literally!) but can be treated easily. If you are having trouble with your feet, book in for a consultation with our team by calling 059 913 1667.