An ingrown toenail occurs when the top corner or side of your toenail grows into the flesh next to it. It happens most commonly on your big toe. Once the edge of the nail breaks through the skin, it produces inflammation. Initially presenting as a minor discomfort, it may progress into an infection in the adjacent skin.
There are various ways of treatment. Surgical methods include partial or total nail removal.
Partial removal of ingrown toe nails removes only the piece of nail that is digging into your skin. Your toe will be numb. The procedure begins by shaving the sides of the nails so that the edges are completely straight. A piece of cotton will then be placed under the remaining nail to prevent the recurrence of an ingrown toenail. Phenol may also be used.
For a total removal, usually caused by thickening. You will be given a local pain injection before proceeding to remove the entire nail. The procedure is also known as a matrixectomy.
Do expect some pain around the area. Your toe will also be bandaged and would need to keep your foot raised for the next 2 days or so.
You may need to wear special footwear to allow proper healing. Avoid movement as much as possible and bandages are likely to be off in about 2 days or so.
Pain medications and antibiotics may be prescribed.
You may require to soak your feet in salt water until your toe heals.
Your toenail will likely grow back a few months after a partial nail removal and maybe a year if you had a total removal down to the base.
Many patients have seen effective results after going through a partial nail removal.
Tips to prevent ingrown toenails:
- trim your toenail straight and ensure edges do not curve in
- avoid cutting nails too short
- wear proper fitting shoes, socks, and tights
- if you are working in a hazardous area, do wear proper protective gears
Complications from ingrown toenail surgeries are rare but can occur.
– Infection after the procedure.
– Prolonged tenderness.
– slow-healing wound.
– Ingrowing nails recurrence.