An ingrowing toenail occurs when the skin is punctured or cut by the toenail, usually at the side of the nail. This causes pain, redness and swelling and often infection and pus. Sufferers of this condition often cut down the sides of the nail which can temporarily relieve pain. Unfortunately, the skin folds around the remaining nail and as the nail grows up it will grow into the skin causing the problem to recur. Several factors can cause ingrowing toenails including poor nail cutting, tearing/picking at toe nails, tight footwear, sweaty feet, or trauma to the toes.
Nail surgery involves removing a small section of nail or the whole toenail depending on the shape of the nail bed. A substance 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 information on how to care for your toe until it is healed.
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