An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail has grown into the skin at the sides of the nail. This can cause the area to become painful, weep, bleed or exude pus. Several factors can cause ingrown toenails, such as injury to the nail (including loss of the nail through sport or injury), incorrect nail cutting, or tight-fitting shoes. In many cases the shape of the toenail may itself be the main cause and the condition can run in families.
In many cases a single visit to the podiatrist may alleviate the condition. Treatment will involve removing the offending piece of nail and applying a sterile dressing if needed. If the toe is very painful then a local anaesthetic can be given prior to treatment to completely numb the toe. If this fails to resolve the problem, then nail surgery is recommended.
Nail surgery involves removing a small section of nail or the whole toenail depending on the shape of the nail bed. A chemical called Phenol may be used to prevent nail regrowth, and has been shown to provide the highest success rate in terms of best cosmetic appearance following treatment as well as the least number of toenails/partial toenails regrowths.
The procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia i.e. the toe(s) to be treated are numbed. The local anaesthetic is given as an injection which can be uncomfortable. This discomfort lasts for a matter of seconds while the injection is administered and the procedure itself should be pain-free. Some patients experience pain after the procedure, but again this is usually minimal and can be relieved using paracetamol or other painkillers.
At your inital consultation a full assessment will be carried out and the podiatrist will discuss suitable options and any specific concerns you may have. A review appointment will be made for you one to three days post-procedure when the dressing will be removed, the wound checked and redressed. You will be given advice about how to care for your toe until it is healed.
To arrange an appointment:
Please book an initial assessment appointment where your suitability for this treatment will be discussed.
At your initial appointment, your podiatrist will conduct a full podiatric assessment including assessment of the affected nails, discussion of treatment options, implications and any contra-indications.