Ingrown toenails are a commonly treated condition at Principal Podiatry. Possible causes of ingrown toenails include improperly trimmed nails, picking at nails, sweaty feet, tight fitting footwear, trauma (kicking sports etc.), abnormal nail shape, or excessive pressure on the toe. This can cause increased pressure of the nail pushing into the skin beside it, producing swelling and sometimes infection inflammation of the lateral nail fold.
A lot of people tolerate chronically ingrown nails, however there a a range of options podiatrists can offer to treat ingrown nails to enable permanent pain relief.
There are a range of treatment option including conservative nail trimming, loose footwear, antibiotics, ingrown toenail surgery. At Principal Podiatry we use nail avulsion with phenol matrixectomy technique which gives the greatest chance of a non-recurrent ingrown toenail.
The Nail Avulsion technique is a minor nail surgery that permanently removes a section of nail plate. Basic steps to this procedure are
Local anaesthetic administered to numb the toe for a pain free procedure.
In a sterile environment, the offending section of nail is removed and the nail matrix/root is prevented from regrowing using a chemical technique called phenolisaton.
A thick, absorbent aseptic dressing is applied and the anaesthetic will be effective for just long enough for the patient to get home comfortably and settled.
No sutures (stitches) are required, and therefore in most cases minimal pain is experienced post-operatively
The patient will be required to return for couple of dressing changes and a final check, normally at 24 hours post-op and then at one week.
Healing time is rapid, with full recovery usually within 3 – 6 weeks. Closed footwear should be avoided on the day of the surgery, but there are few other side effects. Most people can return to work the following day.
In most cases, we only need to remove one edge of the nail. Once the toe is healed the toenail simply looks slightly narrower, and it can be difficult to tell that there has been any surgery.
In more severe cases, where the nail is severely deformed and causing pain on both edges of the toe, we may recommend a Total Nail Avulsion (TNA) removing the entire toenail to achieve the best result.