At Southwest Podiatry we specialise in the treatment and management of ingrown toenails.
Toenails help protect our toes, but can cause severe pain if they grow into the tissue surrounding the nail. Most commonly the big toe is affected. The tissue around the nail may become hot, red, painful to the touch and sometimes there may be pus present. Gradually the pain becomes worse as the nail grows further into the toe and infection spreads.
What causes them?
- Poor cutting technique – nails should be cut along the contour of the toe or straight across. Don’t pull at the nails
- Poorly fitting footwear – tight shoes may lead to pressure on the skin surrounding the nail plate
- Involuted nails – the nail plate may be excessively curved due to trauma, genetics or a bony growth under the nail
We can manage this painful condition conservatively with regular general treatments or permanent nail surgery.
Conservative measures include removal of the nail spicule, advice on appropriate footwear and correct nail cutting techniques if these issues have proven to be contributing to the ingrown toenails.
We can also provide a more permanent solution with partial nail removal. Using phenol under local anaesthetic we burn the nail matrix on the side of the nail, preventing nail growth and stopping painful ingrown nails once and for all.
Partial Nail Avulsion Surgery ( PNA)
This permanent procedure is most commonly performed on the big toes, but can be done on any of the toes. Usually only a small section (2mm) of the nail needs to be removed, not the entire nail. Toe nail surgery is considered to be a minor procedure and Many patients are surprised at how pain free they are after nail surgery.
The Surgery involves numbing the toe with a local anaesthetic so that the procedure can be performed pain-free. A tourniquet is then applied to the toe for a short time while the ingrown side of the nail is removed, along with its root. The root area is then cauterised with phenol so that this side of the nail does not grow back. There is no cutting of the skin or stitches involved in the surgery.
A wound is then present which takes approximately 3-4 weeks to heal completely and at this stage the skin fold closes up and the nail appears quite normal.
During this time you must keep the wound clean and dressed. It is best to avoid swimming and sports until the wound is completely healed, but at the very least for 1-2 weeks after having the surgery. Very rarely do people have to take time off work after the surgery. Any pain that is present after the surgery can be managed with paracetamol.
After PNA (nail surgery)
This procedure is a very effective permanent solution for ingrown toenails and has a 95% success rate.
This procedure is not normally performed the first time you see the Podiatrist, as they will first best advise you on all treatment options for your ingrown toenails.
They will also determine your suitability for this procedure and discuss it in more detail with you at your first visit. Conservative treatment is sometimes attempted first before considering the surgery, depending on the individual case and the severity of the ingrown.
To discuss this further make a general treatment appointment today, we will assess the ingrown nail and implement a treatment plan to fix those ingrown nails once and for all.
call the clinic on (02) 4620 8877 or fill in the following contact us form and we will contact you to make an appointment!