Ingrown toenail, also known as ‘onychocryptosis’, is a common condition seen by Podiatrists. Effectively, it is the nail, more commonly the big toe nail digging into the nearby skin. It can be extremely painful, inflamed and can get infected if progressed.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

  • natural curvature of the nail plate
  • tight shoes
  • trimmed incorrectly
  • long nails

Common presentation

A patient is unable to wear closed in shoes due to pain. The big toe is red, hot and swollen. Pain is described as “sharp”. Often patients attempt to remove the nail themselves at home, with minimal success.

How can a Podiatrist help?

  • trim the protruding nail with professional clippers
  • determine if the ingrown is infected
  • if infected, refer for antibiotics
  • perform Ingrown Toenail Surgery
  • give shoe wear advice
  • maintain regular nail care to prevent future attacks


  • don’t wear tight shoes
  • place the sole of the shoe under your foot, is it wide enough?
  • don’t attempt to remove the digging in nail yourself
  • salt water baths
  • as a preventative trim nails straight across, not curved