Ingrown toenails are a problem that our Poditrists see very often at our Point Cook and Yarraville clinics. Ingrown toenails affect people from a range of backgrounds from sports people to the elderly. Ingrown nails can be very painful and commonly restricting. Often the most suitable and effective approach to treating ingrown toenails is surgery. Ingrown toenail surgery has very high success rates, and is often recommended by well-trained podiatrists.
Before you undergo ingrown toenail surgery, it is important to understand a bit about what it is and how it can help.
Ingrown toenail surgery is a minor procedure. It is performed by a trained podiatrist under sterile conditions in order to minimize complications. The whole procedure takes approximately one hour.
– Local anesthetic needles into the toe to facilitate a painless surgery
– Removal of painful portion of nail (partial nail avulsion)
– Cauterization of nail bed to ensure nail does not regrow
– Dressing of wound
– Post-surgical management (discuss this with your podiatrist)
– Less likely to have recurrent ingrown toenails in the same toe than if have conservative treatment
– Low risk of infection and complications (you may ask your podiatrist for more information)
– Instant relief from ingrown toenail pain
Recovery timeline is variable but is usually short in duration. On the day of the surgery it is important to rest the foot and elevate if possible. This allows the toe to begin healing. After this it is a recovery aided by follow-up management with your podiatrist and wound care/ dressing changes. This will all be explained to you in the case that a full podiatric assessment determines that you require surgery. Furthermore, it may be important to avoid high risk infection environments such as swimming pools for a short length of time.
Medications may be recommended such as pain killers and in rare cases, antibiotics may be recommended to prevent infection.
– Pain or tenderness around the edge of the nail bed
– Swelling, redness or thickening of the skin near the nail edges
Ingrown toenails are very common with the most frequent toe to be affected being the big toe. However, patients may experience ingrown toenails in any toe. There are multiple risk factors for the development of ingrown toenails. Some of which include;
– Inappropriate nail cutting technique
– Curved nails
– Tight footwear
– Injury to the toenail
– Genetics. Some people are just more predisposed to ingrown toenails than others
– Presence of nail spikes
Are there other options for treatment?
For ingrown toenails which are not recurrent, other, more conservative options may be preferred such as;
– Trimming back the ingrown portion of the toenail
– Clearance of nail spike
– Pain killers for symptomatic relief
– Change of footwear.
These options may also require local anesthetic which the podiatrist is able to administer.
Surgery is likely the best choice of treatment for chronic and painful ingrown toenails. Although there are other options out there, surgery is the most likely to provide successful and lasting relief from ingrown toenails. In order to determine the most suitable and effective treatment option for your toes, it is best to consult a podiatrist.