Anal fissure is a common problem that causes significant morbidity in a young and otherwise healthy population. Treatment has remained largely unchanged for over 150 years and the pathogenesis of this condition is not yet fully explained. Acute fissure should be treated conservatively with dietary modification. Chronic fissures do not respond to conservative treatment. The current recommended surgical treatment for chronic fissure is lateral internal sphincterotomy. However, there is a disturbance of continence in a sizeable proportion of those undergoing this procedure. As yet there is no proven non-surgical treatment for chronic fissure. Although local injection of botulinum toxin and the topical application of nitrates show early promise, further controlled trials are needed.