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Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is where your nail grows into the skin of your toe, usually your big toe.

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include a painful and swollen toe. Your toenail may curve into the side of your toe.

You can help an ingrown toenail with things like regular foot baths. Sometimes your nail may need to be cut or removed by a foot specialist.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include a painful and swollen toe. Your toenail may curve into the side of your toe.

Check if you have an ingrown toenail

You usually get an ingrown toenail on your big toe. But you can get them on any toe.

Red, swollen toe with ingrown big toenail.Your toe may be red, painful and swollen.

A toenail curving into the big toe.Your toenail may curve into your toe.

Your toe can also get infected.

Signs of an infected toe include:

Read more on the NHS website.

You can help an ingrown toenail with things like regular foot baths. Sometimes your nail may need to be cut or removed by a foot specialist.

Self-care

If you go to a GP, they'll usually suggest you try these things first.


Do

  • soak your foot in warm water 3 to 4 times a day for a few days – this softens the skin around your toe and stops the nail growing into it
  • keep your foot dry for the rest of the day
  • wear wide, comfortable shoes or sandals
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease the pain

Don't

  • do not cut your toenail – leave it to grow out
  • do not pick at your toe or toenail
  • do not wear tight, pointy shoes

Medical treatments

A GP can:

  • check your toe to see if it's an ingrown toenail
  • give you antibiotics if your toenail is infected

If you have a badly ingrown toenail, they may refer you to a foot specialist.

Treatment from a foot specialist

A foot specialist (podiatrist) may offer further treatments, such as:

  • cutting away part of the nail
  • removing the whole nail

You'll have an injection of local anaesthetic to numb your toe when this is done.

Referral to a podiatrist on the NHS may not be available to everyone and waiting times can be long. You can pay to see a podiatrist privately.

Read more on the NHS website.