Ingrown Toenail Treatment

iStock_12157839_LARGEIngrown toenails can be very painful. That’s why our FootMotion Podiatrists have developed techniques to minimise your discomfort while treating your ingrown toenail.

In many cases, the troublesome toenail can be conservatively managed by removing just the small section of the nail that is causing the problem. Where the problem is due to an involuted (excessively curved) nail, treatment may include nail packing to separate and elevate the nail from the surrounding tissues, thus reducing pressure and pain. You will be shown ways to help reduce the risk of the ingrown toenail returning.

In cases where there are recurrent ingrown toenails or if the ingrown toenail condition or nail shape is severe, we may suggest either surgical intervention or the application of a nail brace.

Surgical Intervention

The aim of surgical treatment for an ingrown toenail is to permanently remove part of the nail that is causing the problems. This procedure, called a nail wedge resection, involves removing a small section along the edge of the nail, narrowing the nail width slightly. The nail root or ‘matrix’ is then cauterised with a chemical to prevent the regrowth of the nail. It is a relatively simple procedure, performed by our Podiatrists in our clinic rooms with strict infection control procedures followed. According to a large clinical study, this particular technique is very effective at correcting the problem permanently. [1] It does require a local anaesthetic, however you will be able to walk out of the clinic room and generally won’t require an extended recovery time.

Where a non-surgical option is best or preferred, Footmotion Podiatry offers nail bracing that requires no anaesthetic and no recovery time.

Nail Bracing – a non-surgical intervention

Nail bracing can alleviate discomfort from ingrown or involuted nails quickly and painlessly. Nail bracing aims to correct the shape of the deformed nail plate, reducing the pain from the pressure on the nail bed. Small medical grade wires are fastened across the nail surface and glued in place. The nail brace acts to elevate the nail plate and unload the pressure on the underlying skin and along the nail groove while reforming the nail plate placed under tension.

As no local anaesthetic is used nail bracing is suitable for children and people with diabetes. Where the treatment aim is to re-shape a curved nail plate the bracing may be removed and reapplied at regular intervals over a period between 3 to 12 months.

Our Podiatrists can discuss these treatment options with you in more detail.

References

  1. Karaca, N. and T. Dereli, Treatment of ingrown toenail with proximolateral matrix partial excision and matrix phenolization. Annals Of Family Medicine, 2012. 10(6): p. 556-559.