• Mr Brian MacCormack

Ingrown toenails?

Updated: Jun 23

Are you worried that your child has ingrown toenails? Well….you’re in the right place!

In this post I’m going to teach you what this means for your child, and how someone like me can fix it for them.



Children get ingrown toenails when the nail (usually on the big toe) grows into the skin around it. This often causes pain and recurrent infections.


The most common cause of ingrown toenails is that the nails have been cut too short and especially that they have been cut back in the corners. This is usually done to try and stop IGTN but the problem is that this practice actually encourages the nail to grow further into the surrounding skin making the whole thing worse.


Thankfully most cases of IGTN can be successfully managed by cutting the nail straight across rather than rounding off the edges. I would encourage your child to wear shoes that don’t constrict their toes and allow their feet to breathe. Getting them out of their school shoes and into the habit of washing their feed as soon as they get home each day is also really helpful.

If your child’s IGTNs are not settling you need someone like me to fix it for them.


For most children I perform the procedure under general anaesthetic and it usually takes about 10 minutes to complete. The most common procedure that I perform for IGTN involves me removing a small wedge of the nail on the affected side and then using a chemical called phenol to stop it from growing back again. This will leave your child with a slightly narrower nail but should sort the problem for them.


Like in any operation there are small risks such as bleeding or infection – but thankfully these are often straightforward to treat. Very occasionally the IGTN can occur again after the procedure, in which case we can discuss a variety of different procedures to treat particularly stubborn IGTN – this is exceedingly rare.


At the end of the procedure I dress the toe with non-stick gauze, bandage and Elastoplast. I would recommend that they bring some open-ended sandals / sliders to make it easier to get home following the procedure.


48 hours later the bandage and dressings should be removed and can often be replaced with a simple plaster. Regular bathing of the area and letting the air at it helps to improve the healing process.


So, if your worried about your child’s IGTN – why not get in touch?

Until next time, take care of yourself and your family. Best wishes.


Procedure information leaflet

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