Ingrown toenails are very common and extremely painful. Those that have been unfortunate enough to experience them, will know how memorable the pain can be. However, what most people don’t actually know is that treatment is quick and instant relief is provided. Most people struggle with trying to cut ingrown nails out themselves, causing further infection and bleeding. A pedicurist is definitely not the place to get treatment, as one patient told me this morning “I went to a pedicurist because I didn’t know about podiatrists “.
The Podiatry Center offers professional ingrown toenail surgery in Sydney. Our podiatrists are highly experienced in the treatment of ingrown toenails and will therefore be able to tailor your treatment for the best possible outcome.
An ingrown toenail is simply an inflammation of the skin beside the toenail, and can sometimes also have an infection. Most common causes are nail spurs caused by trauma and incorrect cutting of the nail, or oddly shaped toenails.
What I want to focus on today is the oddly shaped toenails that keep causing an ingrown toenail. These nails tend to be either fan-shaped or very curved, causing pressure on the sides on the nail. The treatment that I often recommend to this presenting problem is to either attend periodically (every 6-8 weeks) for regular re-shaping of the nail or have a permanent procedure, called partial nail avulsion (“nail surgery”). Toenail surgery is what I will discuss today, as many do not know what the procedure entails, or how this toenail treatment is performed.
PARTIAL NAIL AVULSION WITH PHENOLISATION
This method of ingrown toenail treatment involves removing the margin of the nail on the offending side only. The podiatrist may recommend doing the other side if there is high risk of future ingrown nails occurring there also.
Following injection of a local anaesthetic into the toe and then the application of a tourniquet, the podiatrist will remove the edge of the nail growing into the flesh and destroy the matrix area with phenol to permanently and selectively ablate the matrix that is manufacturing the ingrown portion of the nail (i.e., the nail margin). Also, any infection that is present is surgically drained.
After this procedure, other suggestions on aftercare will be made, such as salt water bathing of the toe and daily application of an antiseptic. The goal of the procedure is that the nail does not grow back where the matrix has been destroyed and ingrown toenail does not reoccur.
The nail will be slightly narrower after the procedure but barely noticeable once healing is complete. This surgical treatment is advantageous because it can be performed in the clinic under local anaesthesia with minimal pain following the intervention. Also, there is no visible scar on the surgery site and a nominal chance of recurrence.
How urgent is an ingrown toenail?
Whilst an ingrown toenail is not a medical emergency, it should be attended to as soon as practical. Left untreated, ingrown toenails often become infected. This infection can damage the surrounding tissues of the toe, and in some severe cases, can even spread down to the bone beneath (which then becomes urgent).
Can an ingrown toenail resolve on its own?
In some cases, if the ingrown toenail is mild, it may grow out on its own. In most cases, however, it will require professional treatment by a podiatrist. If you notice significant warmth, swelling, any drainage (like blood or pus) or pain that is getting worse, then you should seek medical treatment.
Putting some fears to rest…
The most common reasons why patients delay this ingrown toenail surgery include
1. Fear of having needles
I can understand this fear, as no-one likes needle injections and some of us may have had negative experiences. But often, my patients will say “It wasn’t that bad”. Their anticipation of the pain is far worse than what it actually is. We carry out the procedure on young children, and I have had my fair share of very anxious children but surprisingly, they sit in the chair calm and collected throughout the injection, which is fast.
2. Fear of permanent change to the nail shape
This particularly applies to females, as no-one wants to have an ‘ugly’ looking nail. During the pre-operative consultation, I will draw on the nail, the portion to be removed. If this doesn’t suit you, then it can be reduced if it doesn’t compromise the results. The podiatrist, especially myself, attempts to keep your nail looking as normal as possible, so only a minimum amount is removed. Before any procedure, I spend quality time with my patient to gauge exactly what their concern is and what they are hoping to achieve. No two people are alike, and so no two consultations are ever the same.
3. Unaware that podiatrists treat ingrown toenails
Many people visit the GP when they have an ingrown toenail and then may get referred to see a surgeon. Podiatrists are very experienced, and skilled practitioners that treat ingrown toenails on a regular basis. Treatment options vary and are based on the patient’s history and the severity of the ingrown toenail. Take the time to visit a podiatry clinic in Sutherland shire or the Sydney southside, and receive some quality consultation time to discuss and treat your painful ingrown toenails, with minimal cost and pain.
Contact The Podiatry Centre
If you have been suffering with an ingrown toenail, contact our team at The Podiatry Centre today. We offer professional, effective ingrown nail treatment in Sydney, including toenail surgery. No referral is necessary.
Contact us on 02 9525 8446 or alternatively, you may complete our online booking form to make an appointment.
The Podiatry Centre is a Sydney podiatry centre that offers its services across the southern region, with podiatry in Cronulla and the Miranda / Caringbah area.