Ingrown toenails

Minor surgery for ingrown toenails


Ingrown Toenails, a Frequent Podiatric Pathology

Ingrown toenails, commonly seen in podiatric clinics, are a major source of pain and discomfort. This condition occurs when the edge of a nail penetrates the toe’s skin, leading to inflammation and sometimes infection.

Ingrown Toenails Symptoms and Signs

Typical symptoms include sharp pain, redness, swelling, and in severe cases, an infection characterized by pus discharge. Pain often intensifies when wearing tight shoes or under pressure. Ingrown toenails often result from wearing inappropriate shoes, poor nail-cutting techniques, and genetic or anatomical factors, such as excessive natural nail curvature.

Infection Risks and Cellulitis

An untreated ingrown toenail can lead to infections, or even cellulitis, a deep skin infection. Infection symptoms include increased redness, swelling, and sometimes fever.

Complications for Diabetic Patients

Ingrown toenails pose particular risks for diabetics due to reduced blood circulation and decreased sensitivity in the feet. They are more prone to developing ulcers and serious infections. Prevention involves wearing well-fitted shoes, proper nail cutting, and rigorous foot hygiene. Regular podiatrist consultations are recommended for at-risk individuals.

Home Treatment

Home treatments include warm saltwater foot baths and placing cotton under the nail to straighten it. However, these methods are limited and do not replace professional consultation.

Podiatrist Assessment and Treatment

Treatment varies based on the severity of the ingrowth. For simple cases, a podiatrist can lift the nail and place a spacer. In more complex cases, minor surgery, such as a partial matricectomy or partial resection, may be necessary.

Partial Matricectomy

This procedure involves removing the ingrown part of the nail and destroying the corresponding nail matrix, often with phenol, to prevent regrowth of that nail section.

Bevel Cut (Partial Resection)

A less invasive method, the bevel cut involves trimming the nail at an oblique angle to relieve pressure and prevent deeper ingrowth.

Shoe Choice is Crucial

Well-fitted shoes, with sufficient space for the toes and good support, are essential to prevent ingrown toenails.



  • Soak your feet daily in a solution made with epsom water and salt for 10 to 15 minutes.If possible, you can also gently massage the edges of the nail to clear the ingrown furrow;
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment (e.g. PolysporinTM);
  • Wear comfortable shoes with wider ends at toes or sandals with open tips;
  • Avoid cutting or clearing the nail on your own.