Onychocryptosis is the medical term for an ingrowing toenail. They can range from a mild discomfort where the nail is wider than the sulcus it lives in, to intensely painful where the nail has pierced the skin and infection has set in. The only way to relieve the pain is to remove the offending piece of nail.



Ingrowing toenails can come about as a result of picking at the nail or cutting it incorrectly. Tight fitting shoes or socks can also be a factor, as can trauma.


Conservative treatment in mild cases involves the resection (clipping out) of the offending nail spike. This can be undertaken with a local anaesthetic if particularly painful.

For recurrent or excessively painful in-growing toenails, we can perform a partial or total nail avulsion. This is a minor medical procedure at the clinic which involves permanently removing a small strip of nail (partial) or the whole nail (total) under local anaesthetic. The nail bed (the half moon at the base of the nail) is where the nail grows from. In the place where the nail has been removed, this is made inactivate by the use of a strong chemical called Phenol, leaving you with a narrower straight nail (partial) or no nail at all.

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