An ingrown toenail is a very common, and particularly painful, nail problem that we see at our clinic on a daily basis. Ingrown toenails often occur on the first (big) toe, but it can also affect the little toes. Many contributing factors can lead to an ingrown toenail. If not dealt properly, an ingrown toenail can lead to a major infection that will persist as the nail pushes into the skin. Oftentimes, a nail spike or hook nail digs into the skin, causing pain and considerable discomfort. Hook nail are particularly difficult to see and, if not cut properly, they can lead to persistent pain and infection. Therefore, a simple dose of antibiotics may not be enough to resolve the problem.
The Chiropodist at our clinic can help to treat the ingrown nail without surgery. In the event that a nail becomes ingrown again, however, a patient may wish to consider surgery to have part of the nail permanently removed.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
There are many causes of ingrown toenails making each case unique. The following are some of the reasons one may develop ingrown toenails:
Improper Nail Cutting: Improper clipping of the toenails can cause a nail hook or nail spike to develop in the corners.
Trauma: This includes any impact to the nail such as stubbing the toe, dropping an item on the toe, wearing tight footwear, etc.
Nail Health: Any nail deformity or nail infection (i.e. fungal infection) can lead to ingrown toenails.
Wide Nail: At times the nail is too wide for the actual nail pocket causing the nail to press against the skin. This makes it more likely to developing ingrown toenails.
When to Consider Ingrown Toenail Surgery
Getting a ingrown toenail surgery can be very beneficial for anyone who suffers from chronic ingrown toenail infection. A Chiropodist at our clinic will be able to assess the severity of your ingrown toenail, and can help to determine if an ingrown toenail surgery is warranted. Consider getting an ingrown toenail surgery if:
The toenail constantly causes an infection
There has been constant re-occurrence of ingrown toenail
Toenail becomes ingrown again despite treatment by a Chiropodist
All conservative treatment methods have failed
Ingrown Toenail Surgery
All ingrown toenail surgeries are done in office at our clinic. The procedure is done under local anesthetic to numb the toe so that no pain is felt throughout the procedure. Only the ingrown portion/border of the nail is removed. The rest of the toenail remains intact. A chemical is then used to kill the root of the ingrown border of the toenail so that it does not grow back again. The procedure itself can take approximately 45 minutes. The ingrown toenail surgery is the only permanent solution to removing a chronically infected ingrown toenail.
Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cases
Here we can see that this patient had been dealing with chronic ingrown toenails on all borders of both left and right big toe. In the before image we can see that the nails are actually much wider than the actual nail pocket, causing the nails to press up against the sides of the skin. After having the nail surgery done, removing both corners of the nails, we can see that there is now visibly less redness and inflammation surrounding both big toenails.
In this case we can see that this patient had a growth on the side of the left big toenail. This is a more severe case of ingrown toenail. If you begin to see a growth on the side of the toenail seek immediate treatment. After having the ingrown toenail surgery, we can see that the big toe is no longer infected.