Ingrowing toenails are a painful and common problem that can really make you miserable! Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) can be caused by many different things, such as a spike of toenail cutting into the surrounding nail skin, ill-fitting footwear, excessive sweating and improper trimming of nails.
Ingrowing toe nails can affect anyone at any time, however are very common in younger boys (due to sweaty feet in shoes), people with nails that are very curved, or toes that are fleshy and large.
If an ingrown toenail remains untreated it may become red, swollen, painful and infected with blood and pus present at the sides of the toenail.
If you suspect an ingrowing toenail, there are a few things you can do to help it resolve.
Soak the toe in warm, salt water twice a day for 10 minutes.
Apply antiseptic liquid to the affected area (for example Betadine).
Cover the side of the toe with a breathable island dressing (Primapore style) to prevent dirt and bacteria getting into the inflamed area
See your podiatrist who can help by removing the spike of nail, this can generally be undertaken at the time of the appointment, with very little pain or discomfort and this will provide immediate relief.
For more persistent/recurring ingrown nails, a local anaesthetic maybe given to numb the toe, this will allow us to remove a small piece of nail and apply a chemical to prevent the ingrown re-occurring.This can be done in the clinic and you can simply walk out after the procedure with a shorter recovery time when compared to other surgical procedures. Once healed it is difficult to even tell if a piece was removed.
Ingrowing Nail Surgery
At Footsure Podiatry, our podiatrists are trained in ingrowing toenail treatments including conservative management and nail surgery.
What is Nail Surgery?
Nail surgery involves surgical avulsion (removal) of the nail, either part or the complete nail. Podiatrists will commonly perform this procedure when ingrown toenails have become too severe or are not responding to conservative treatments. Nail surgery is a permanent solution to prevent ingrowing nails from occurring again.
How is it done?
The most important part of nail surgery is anaesthetic. The toe is anaesthetised with a local anaesthetic so you cannot feel anything. The whole nail can be removed in severe cases where it has become too deformed however the most common is taking one or both sides and narrowing the nail so it does not dig into the skin next to the nail anymore. The appropriate size is removed and then the root of the nail is cauterised to prevent that section growing back. The procedure normally takes approximately 1 hour. The toe is then dressed with a wound dressing and you can go home to rest .
How long do I need to be off work or school?
We normally recommend resting for 24 hours following the procedure however if the nail was very inflamed prior to the surgery further time may be necessary before a return to work and school. Generally, there is minimal pain following the procedure recovery is focused on preventing infection and preventing damage to the nail bed whilst it heals.
When should I consider surgery?
We recommend surgery if there is a major deformity problem with the nail where we consider that it will be unlikely to improve with conservative treatment. In cases where conservative treatment helps but the nail keeps ingrowing every few months nail surgery is a good option to not have to deal with future ingrowns.
If you need help with a painful toenail call us at today.
07 5443 6761