A survey of the treatment and management of ingrown toenails by UK podiatrists: A cross-sectional survey

J Foot Ankle Res. 2024 Jun;17(2):e12017. doi: 10.1002/jfa2.12017.


Background: Ingrown toenails are a common pathology. Although a range of conservative and surgical measures are widely used for this condition, little is known about their use in practice. This study explored current practice relating to the treatment or management of ingrown toenails by podiatrists in the UK.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey (Qualtrics, Provo, UT, USA) conducted between March to June 2020 was distributed to practicing podiatrists treating or managing ingrown toenails in the UK.

Results: A total of 396 practicing podiatrists responded (60.1% based in the private sector). The majority (88.6%) performed nail surgery most commonly (54.3%) less than five a month. Nearly all (95%) only performed nail avulsion with or without chemical matrixectomy, universally using phenol (97.2%). Application time and number of applications varied but was most commonly applied three times (61.5%) for a total of 3 minutes (75%). Aftercare varied considerably between public and private sectors, with public sectors offering fewer follow-up appointments.

Conclusions: Although there is a variation in clinical practice throughout the treatment pathway, almost all respondents offered nail avulsion with phenol matrixectomy, whereas very few provided incisional nail surgery. This data provides the most comprehensive description of how UK podiatrists conduct nail surgery for onychocryptosis.

Keywords: ingrown nails; malformed; nail avulsion; nail surgery; onychocryptosis; questionnaires; survey.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nails / surgery
  • Nails, Ingrown* / surgery
  • Nails, Ingrown* / therapy
  • Phenol / therapeutic use
  • Podiatry* / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toes
  • United Kingdom


  • Phenol