What is an ingrowing toenail?
An ingrown nail occurs when the nail starts cutting in to the skin next to the nail which can be painful and can cause infection and inflammation to the skin next to the nail. Usually the big toe is most prone to the condition but any toe can be affected. This is a common problem in teens and young adults.
- High heels or tight fitting shoes can cause the toes to compress and the toe nails to grow abnormally.
- Incorrect trimming of the nails can result in the nail digging into the skin. Nails should be cut straight across and not rounded.
- A fungal infection in the nail can cause the development of widened or thickened toe nails
- An acute injury or repeated damage to the nail can cause ingrown toenails.
- If ingrown toe nails runs in the family you may have a high chance of developing ingrown toenails as well.
- If nails are normally more rounded or the underlying bone can be more upturned
- A sharp spike of nail growing into the skin beside it which allows the bacteria that are usually harmlessly on the skin to get underneath the skin and cause infection.
What are the symptoms?
- The end of the toe becomes red and painful with mild swelling in the early stages. It may even feel warm to the touch
- Extras tissue will start to grow around the sharp point of the nail.
- A yellowish drainage may begin which is a sign of the nail irritating the skin and not necessarily an infection.
- In the case of an infection the swelling will worsen and there may be pus in the area.
Permanent correction of ingrown nails is a very commonly performed procedure here in our clinic. It offers permanent relief of a very painful problem that sometime lingers for years.
Wedge Resection or Partial Nail Avulsion
This is partial removal of the nail or an offending piece of nail.
- We first inject the toe with a common local anaesthetic using the thinnest needle possible for your comfort.
- When the area is numb, we will perform the procedure in which a very small piece of nail along the edge that is growing into the skin is cut away and is pulled out.
- Any infection is surgically drained and any tissue over growth is cut away
- This process, referred to as a “wedge resection” is non-permanent (i.e., the nail will re-grow from the matrix).
- For permanent options, the nail root is killed with a chemical (Phenol) to stop the nail growing back on the side.
- The procedure causes very little post-procedure discomfort, however pain medicines can be taken should discomfort arise.
- The entire procedure is performed in the clinic and takes approximately forty-five minutes depending on the extent of the problem.
- The patient is allowed to go home immediately with a post-operative shoe to take the pressure away and maintain comfort when walking for the following 2 days (optional)
- Recovery time is anywhere from two weeks to two months barring any complications such as infection.
- We provide the patient with all the dressing needs, topical antibacterial solutions and ointments, post-op shoe and after care instructions, all tailored individually for the patient.