Do you have an ingrown toe nail?
Ingrown toe nail is a very painful condition where the edge of your nail penetrates the nail fold. It is a commonly presented problem in the Podiatry clinic in which it can be treated conservatively without the administration of Local Anaesthetic or surgically with the administration of a local anaesthetic. If you have this condition it is important that you seek the advice of your local Podiatrist who can treat your toe to prevent further pain and infection.
There are two primary causes of ingrown toe nails. The nail can splinter off and can penetrate the nail sulcus (onychocryptosis) which is often accompanied by hypergranulation tissue. This type of nail is generally thin and broad, and if cut poorly, ingrows into the nail fold, it is a condition which is more prevalent among young adult men.
Involuted nails which have increased transverse curvature and can grow down the side into the nail fold can also be a big problem. This type of ingrown nail is less likely to become infected but painful keratosis may develop in the nail fold. It is a difficult nail to manage at home and a spike of nail can easily penetrate in to the skin if cut poorly. The condition can be congenital or caused by poor fitting shoes in older women. These nails can easily become thickened (onychauxis or onychogryphosis) which can cause further complications. The podiatrist will thin your nails down with a drill burr; this will significantly improve your comfort.
Advice on cutting your nails
- It is always advisable to cut your nails straight across to allow the corners to protrude. This may not be straight forward with a severely involuted nail, so seek the advice of a Podiatrist.
- Do not cut your nails too short.
- Wear roomy shoes.
- Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent infection.
- If you have poor circulation or Diabetes, seek the advice of a Podiatrist.
The Podiatrist will treat your ingrown toe nail without the administration of LA if this can be done painlessly at the initial appointment. Antibiotics may be advised if infection is present, but do not forget, antibiotics alone will not cure your condition. The corner or spike of nail can easily be removed by a Podiatrist, the toe is then dressed with an antiseptic dressing. If the condition keeps reoccurring it may be advisable to consider minor surgery for your ingrown nail or you may decide to seek regular Podiatry treatment for your condition.
Nail surgery can be done very simply and effectively at the Podiatry Clinic. A full patient history is always undertaken, written advice is given out and a signed consent form is necessary before treatment can commence.
The most common surgical procedure is PNA (partial nail avulsion) in which the portion of nail that is causing the problem is removed. It may be necessary on occasions to do a TNA (total nail avulsion) to remove the whole nail. This is done with the administration of Local Anaesthetic to make it a totally painless nail procedure. The toe is then dressed and you will be seen within a few days to re-dress the area. It may also be necessary to phenolize the toe nail to prevent nail re-growth.
A written after care advice sheet is given for you to follow at home to prevent any problems occurring. Generally this will involve keeping the foot elevated and rested for a few days to allow healing. Ensuring that there is no pressure on the area, open shoes are a good option.
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