Common Conditions

What are ingrown toenails?

In–growing toe nails are very common and are managed by your Podiatrist at South West Podiatry by appropriately cutting and shaping the nail. Commonly you may experience pain in the big toe nail, pus can develop or bleeding occurs. If the problem persists, a portion of the nail can be removed permanently with a minor procedure.

Nail surgery is a long term solution to a painful condition. During this procedure, a portion of the nail or the whole nail can be permanently removed under local anaesthetic.

This procedure has a 95% success rate, and is the only option which we provide for long term management of curved nails, infected toe nails or in-growing toe nails.

ingrown toenail

Signs and Symptoms of in-growing toe nails:

  • Hard skin near the nail.
  • Tenderness in the skin around the nail.
  • Swelling around the skin and nail.
  • The skin may be bleeding.
  • A curved painful toe nail.
  • The toe is painful.
  • Redness in the skin next to the nail.
  • The toe may be hot.
  • Pus or infection may be present near the toe nail.

Causes of ingrowing toe nails:

  • Footwear – ill fitting shoes and footwear which is too tight.
  • Inappropriate cutting – leaving spikes in the nail which pierce the skin.
  • Injury – Dropping an object on the nail or sports such as running causing pressure on the nail.
  • Hereditary nail conditions – Abnormal curves in the nail.
  • Posture or foot abnormality.
  • Infection.

Treatment options:

  • Deep/wide footwear giving you more space around the toes.
  • Soaking the feet in salt water and using antiseptic cream such as savlon.
  • Conservative cutting of the nail completed regularly by podiatrists.
  • Nail surgery – Removal of part of the nail or the whole nail.

What is nail surgery?

Nail Surgery – How will the toe nail be removed?

  1. After an assessment for suitability for this procedure, two local anaesthetic injections will be injected into the toe/toe’s.
  2. After 5 minutes the toe/toe’s will be numb and either a portion of the nail or the whole nail will be removed. The anaesthetic makes the procedure pain free.
  3. A chemical (phenol) will be applied to destroy the exposed nail bed so the part of the removed nail never grows back again (95% success).
  4. The toe is then dressed with a large bandage.
  5. After the procedure you are required to rest and take pain relief (if required).
  6. This procedure takes around one hour. You can walk normally afterwards but are required to bring flip flops, and cannot drive for 24 hours. The wound takes between 6-10 weeks to heal.

How painful is it afterwards?

Most patients do not need pain relief medication following this procedure, however some patients may experience mild symptoms. If the toe is painful it is advisable to take over-the -counter pain relief such as Paracetamol. Do not take anything which contains anti-coagulant medication such as Aspirin.

Are there any risks involved?

This procedure is considered a safe and effective way to treat in growing toe nails. Like any procedure there are minor risks involved which your podiatrist will discuss with you during the assessment and when gaining formal consent prior to booking this procedure.