INgrown toenail

Ingrown nails, or ingrowing nails, commonly occur on the first toe and to a lesser extent on the small toes. Ingrown nails arise from a nail spike splitting from the nail plate and penetrating the surrounding nail sulcus. This will initially cause some discomfort; however, as the nail grows the spike is forced deeper into the nail sulcus which can cause a portal for infection.

Following infection of the nail sulcus, a tight, throbbing inflamed toe will result. The nail spike will itself cause the wound not to heal and granulation tissue will result.

In some severe cases the granulation tissue may cover almost the entire nail plate. The most common causes of ingrown nails are poor cutting technique, nail trauma, hyperhydrosis (sweaty feet), and poorly fitting footwear.

Treatment is aimed at correcting the most likely cause of the ingrown nail. Conservative trimming of the nail is usually tried to relieve the symptoms; however, if the ingrown nail is a recurrent problem, a surgical wedge resection and matrix sterilization will be the best option for a permanent cure. This can be performed under local anesthetic in a day surgery situation.

If you suffer from ingrown toenails and would like a permanent solution please call our Capalaba and Victoria Point Clinics and make an appointment on (07) 3823 5423

Ingrown toenail treatment will depend on how severe the condition is. Ingrown toenail pain an be unbearable.
Infected ingrown toenail: To avoid ingrown toenails trim your toenails correctly.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Understanding the underlying causes of ingrown toenails can help prevent their occurrence.

Here are some common factors that contribute to ingrown toenails:

  1. Improper Nail Trimming: Trimming nails too short or rounding the edges can cause the nails to grow into the surrounding skin, leading to ingrown toenails.

  2. Tight-Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can exert pressure on the toes, increasing the likelihood of developing ingrown toenails.

  3. Trauma or Injury: Stubbing your toe or any other injury to the nail can disrupt its normal growth pattern, potentially resulting in an ingrown toenail.

  4. Genetics: Some individuals may have a predisposition to developing ingrown toenails due to inherited nail shape or structure.

Nonsurgical Treatment

In less severe cases, nonsurgical treatments and home care methods can provide relief and encourage proper nail growth. Here’s what you need to know:

Home Care: Simple steps like soaking the affected toe in warm water, gently lifting the ingrown nail with a cotton ball or dental floss, and keeping the area clean can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing.

Ingrown Toenail Home Treatment Options: Over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotic ointments, and protective bandages can be used to manage symptoms and prevent infection.

Trim your toenails with the correct equipment and it will help to prevent ingrown toenails
Ingrown toenails can be treated by our Podiatrist at Victoria Point

How is an Ingrown Toenail Treated?

Podiatrists can provide various professional treatments, such as conservative trimming, nail wedge resection, or partial nail avulsion, to address ingrown toenails and promote proper healing.

How to Cut an Ingrown Toenail?

If conservative trimming is required, it’s essential to follow proper techniques, such as cutting the nail straight across and avoiding excessive trimming of the corners.

Healthcare Provider Involvement?

While home care methods can provide temporary relief, involving a healthcare provider ensures accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and prevention of potential complications.

Consequences of Untreated Ingrown Toenails:

Leaving ingrown toenails untreated can lead to complications. Consider the following risks:

Infection: Ingrown toenails can easily become infected, resulting in pain, redness, swelling, and discharge. In severe cases, the infection can spread and require additional medical intervention.

Abscess Formation: Pus-filled abscesses may develop as a result of severe infection, requiring drainage and further treatment.

Chronic Discomfort: Untreated ingrown toenails can cause ongoing pain, difficulty walking, and discomfort during daily activities, negatively impacting one’s quality of life.

Nail Deformity: Prolonged presence of ingrown toenails can lead to nail deformities, such as thickening, abnormal growth patterns, or chronic ingrown nails, requiring more extensive treatment.

Conservative Trimming and Permanent Procedures

Ingrown toenails can be a painful and bothersome condition that affects many individuals. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available to provide relief and resolve this issue. In this article, we will explore two common methods used by podiatrists to treat ingrown toenails: conservative trimming and a permanent procedure called nail wedge resection and cauterization with phenol.

Treating Ingrown Toenails: Conservative Trimming

In less severe cases of ingrown toenails that are not too painful or infected, conservative trimming can be an effective treatment option. This procedure involves carefully trimming the ingrown portion of the nail and providing proper guidance for the nail to grow in the right direction. Here are the key points to understand about conservative trimming:

Assessing the Condition: A podiatrist will evaluate the severity of the ingrown toenail, looking for signs of infection or complications. They will determine if conservative trimming is a suitable approach.

Precise Trimming: The podiatrist will gently trim the ingrown portion of the nail, ensuring that the nail edge no longer digs into the surrounding skin.

Proper Nail Care Instructions: After the procedure, the podiatrist will provide instructions on how to care for the nail to prevent future ingrown toenails. This may include proper nail trimming techniques and wearing appropriate footwear.

Ingrown toenail infection can cause pain and discomfort around any of the toenails Most ingrown toenails occur on the first toe
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail pierces the sulcus of the toe causing pain and infection

Nail Wedge Resection and Cauterization with Phenol: A Permanent Solution

Surgical treatment of an ingrown nail by a podiatrist at our Capalaba and Victoria Point Podiatry Clinics

For more severe or recurrent cases of ingrown toenails, nail wedge resection and cauterization with phenol may be recommended. This procedure aims to permanently resolve the issue by removing a portion of the nail matrix. Let’s delve into the details:

Preparing for the Procedure: The podiatrist will explain the procedure to the patient, address any concerns, and ensure they are suitable candidates for the surgery. They may also discuss pre-operative instructions, such as medication adjustments and fasting if required.

Anesthesia: Anesthesia options will be discussed, and the patient will be prepared for the procedure. Local anesthesia is typically used to numb the toe before the surgery begins.

Nail Wedge Resection: The podiatrist will carefully remove a section of the ingrown nail and underlying nail matrix. This helps prevent the ingrown portion from regrowing and causing further discomfort.

Cauterization with Phenol: Phenol is often used to cauterize the nail matrix and prevent regrowth. It ensures that the ingrown portion of the nail is permanently treated.

Post-operative Care: The podiatrist will provide detailed instructions for post-operative care, including wound care, pain management, and wearing appropriate footwear. It is crucial to follow these instructions to promote proper healing.

How do I get rid of my ingrown toenail?

The treatment method depends on the severity of the condition. Conservative trimming or nail wedge resection and cauterization with phenol are common approaches used by podiatrists.

What is the fastest way to get rid of an ingrown toenail?

Nail wedge resection and cauterization with phenol offer a more permanent solution, but it is best to consult with a podiatrist for an accurate assessment and personalized treatment plan.

Does an ingrown toenail go away by itself?

In some cases, mild ingrown toenails may resolve on their own with proper self-care. However, persistent or severe ingrown toenails often require professional treatment.

Is ingrown toenail surgery painful?

The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the toe and minimizes pain during the surgery. However, it is normal to experience some discomfort or mild pain during the recovery period.

How long does it take to recover from ingrown toenail surgery?

The recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedure. Generally, it takes about 1 to 2 weeks for the initial healing process. However, complete recovery and the ability to return to normal activities may take several weeks.

Is ingrown toenail removal covered by Medicare?

Coverage for ingrown toenail removal may vary depending on the specific Medicare plan and individual circumstances. It is recommended to check with Medicare or your healt insurance provider to determine the coverage details.

How painful is ingrown toenail removal recovery?

The level of pain experienced during the recovery period can vary from person to person. Some individuals may only experience mild discomfort, while others may have slightly more intense pain. The podiatrist will provide pain management instructions and prescribe appropriate medications if necessary.

Ingrown toenails can be effectively treated through conservative trimming or a more permanent procedure like nail wedge resection and cauterization with phenol. Depending on the severity of the condition, a podiatrist can determine the most suitable treatment approach. Whether it’s the conservative method or a permanent solution, seeking professional care is crucial for effective treatment and long-term relief. If you have concerns about an ingrown toenail, consult with a podiatrist who can provide a personalized treatment plan based on your specific needs.

If you suffer from ingrown toenails and would like a permanent solution please call our Capalaba and Victoria Point Clinics and make an appointment on (07) 3823 5423