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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Foot and Ankle

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Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are almost always limited to the big toenail.

Big toes are particularly susceptible because of flattening of the arch, by pressure from ill-fitting shoes, trauma or incorrect toenail cutting. They also often get infected and need treatment with antibiotics.

If caught early, regular soaking and softening of the skin around the affected nail, combined with gently guiding the growing nail over the skin can limit or cure the problem. However, you will have to persevere with this treatment over a number of weeks.

If the condition is persistent the nail may need to be removed by local anaesthetic. Regrowth is then prevented by application of a small amount of acid to the nailbed.

However, there is a choice of two surgical procedures to treat ingrowing toenails - a wedge resection or complete resection.

Historically, the wedge resection has shown the risk of recurrence is greater but the cosmetic result is better. The choice of procedure should be discussed fully with your surgeon.