An in growing toe nail is when a spike of nail pierces the skin at the side of the nail.

It occurs mainly in the big toes and is most prevalent in male adolescents.

The side of the nail becomes, swollen, red, with a throbbing pain and extreme sensitivity to pressure.

The more the nail grows the further it penetrates the skin and the risk of infection increases.

The condition can accelerate from a slightly sore toe to a very swollen infected painful toe quite rapidly and therefore needs immediate treatment by a podiatrist.

Treatment is the removal of the spike of nail and cleaning and dressing of the area.

Antibiotics may need to be prescribed, and if the problem is ongoing then nail surgery may be considered.

This is the removal of part of the nail under local anaesthetic and killing the nail matrix with an acid to prevent the re growth of the nail removed.

To prevent in growing toe nails, good nail cutting is essential, and the picking, tearing and biting of the nails to be avoided.

Footwear should not be too tight to prevent excessive pressure on the toes.