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Sports and General Podiatry
 

 


Ingrown Toenail Treatment


Ingrown Toenails are one of the most common complaints that podiatrists are asked to treat. It can be very painful condition and because of fear of surgery many people put off seeking treatment until the nail has deteriorated to a chronic state. Many ingrown toe nails can be treated without the need for surgery, although conservative measures may mean that you have to visit a podiatrist at regular intervals. If surgery is required, it is very likely that it can be done without the need for admission to hospital. Many ingrown nails can be treated surgically in a podiatrist's rooms with the procedure taking an hour or less.

Causes:

Footwear that crowds the toes and toenails can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. This may include shoes which are too tight, short, narrow at the end, or flat at the end. Not cutting the toenails straight across. If you cut toenails too short, or cut the edges of the toenail this encourages the surrounding skin to fold over the nail, and the nail to push into that skin and pierce it. Toenail injury such as dropping something on your toe or kicking something hard (ACC). Toenails with an unusual curve. The way you walk or stand can effect the toenails and the risk of developing ingrown toenails. Poor foot hygiene or excessive sweating can create a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail because of the excess moisture.

Treatment:

At Waitakere Foot, we have specialist podiatrists treating ingrown toenails conservatively or surgically.

Conservative treatment

If it is the first time you have had ingrown toenails or if it is a mild ingrown toenail, you will typically be offered some simple conservative measures to try. However, if there has been a history of repeated problems, your podiatrist will probably recommend a permanent surgical solution.

General treatment of ingrown toenails involves routine nail cutting to free up the nail edge, which is then cleaned with a sterile instrument and packed with lint-free swab. This method generally requires ongoing maintenance, depending on the shape of the toenail and the severity and duration of the condition.


Ingrown toenail surgery

There are many procedures that have been developed over the years to address chronic or recurrent ingrown toenails. At Waitakere Foot Clinic our preferred procedure for ingrown toenails is a partial nail avulsion and chemical matrixectomy done under local anaesthetic. This has been shown through research to be the most reliable form of procedure to reduce the risk of recurrence caused by a regrowth of the nail. Nail surgery is generally very safe, with very minimal pain afterwards, and can be safely performed in an office based clinical setting.

The procedure carried out by the podiatrists is to remove the ingrown part of the nail under a local anaesthetic. To stop the offending part from regrowing, a chemical is applied to the tissue from which the nail grows. This method leaves no scar on the skin and leaves most of the nail in place resulting in a good cosmetic appearance. Healing is slightly slower by this method, but there is usually less post-operative pain than with other procedures. If you have pain in your toe nails see your podiatrist, the treatment may not be as bad as you might imagine.