WHAT IS NAIL BRACING?
Nail Bracing is a gentle, non-surgical treatment option for ingrown toenails. In troublesome cases, an ingrown toenail can be due to excessive curvature (involution) of the nail plate. Nail bracing aims to correct the shape of the deformed nail plate, reducing the pain from the pressure on the nail bed and decreasing the formation of any hard skin (callous) that often forms in the nail groove (sulcus) due to the pressure from the nail.
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. This allows the underlying skin to regain its strength and accept the pressure of the nail once more. It also elevates the nail on the toe and in some cases it can totally reduce the involution or inward curving of the toenail.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED?
Involuted nails can be the result of tight footwear, activities that place pressure onto the toenails or episodes of trauma that may have damaged the nail root which cause the nail to grow misshapen or thickened. Over time this can impact the shape and contour of the nail plate creating pressure and pain where the nail has increased its curvature against the nail bed and groove.
People with increased nail pressure often experience pain with footwear and activities that place high forces across the forefoot. They may seek regular podiatry care to remove the edges of the nail, pack the corners to alleviate discomfort or have the thickness of the nail reduced. All these are temporary treatments as they do not address the excessive curvature of the nail plate. Nail bracing can correct the growth of the curved nail, leading to a flatter shape creating less pressure and pain.
Nail bracing can be a very effective alternative for nail surgery, alleviating discomfort quickly and painlessly. As no local anaesthetic is used and no surgery performed, nail bracing is suitable for young children or those preferring not to have surgery. Nail bracing offers a solution for ingrowing nails for people with medical conditions that may limit their surgery options, such as those with diabetes.
We currently have 3 nail bracing systems available so we can choose the most suitable treatment option according to your diagnosis and treatment goals. This will be discussed with your podiatrist during your first nail bracing consultation.
The duration of the treatment will vary from case to case. The factors impacting your length of treatment will include the growth and strength of the affected nail, how you address the external/environmental factors that may be contributing to the condition and the end goals you and your podiatrist agree on.
Generally treatments can take between 3 to 12 months. Follow-up consultations will be required every 4 to 6 weeks to check the firmness, position and effectiveness of the brace. Each brace does have a limited life span requiring replacement as clinically indicated.
WEARING A NAIL BRACE
- While wearing your nail brace you can continue normal daily activities.
- You should avoid tight, narrow shoes and kicking balls with the foot being treated.
- If swimming, apply the non-adhesive side of a bandaid over the brace to reduce drag through the water.
BENEFITS OF NAIL BRACING
- Provides both a fast and long-term relief
- Simple and gentle treatment
- Customised for each condition – perfect fit
- No time off work required