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How can I fix my ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are one of the mostly commonly treated conditions for podiatrists. They can be very painful which severely impact on your quality of life. In many cases, prompt actions towards treating an ingrown toenail can result in successful outcomes of resolving painful symptoms and avoiding infection, chronic pain and surgery. They are also unfortunately more common in winter for a range of reasons.

Ingrown toenails

Early management of ingrown toenails are often the most effective. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is encouraged to see your podiatrist:

  • Localised redness, swelling and inflammation, particularly in the corners overlying the nail edge
  • Pain when pressure is applied on the toe (from socks, shoes, bed sheets etc.) 
  • Additional skin begins to grow over the nail edge that can be very sensitive (often bright red in colour)
  • Discharge from the nail edge including pus and blood.
  • Deep throbbing of the toe

If you have observed any of the above symptoms, we strongly encourage you to visit your podiatrist as soon as possible to commence conservative treatment options. In your initial appointment, your podiatrist will attempt to carefully remove any sharp offending nail edges that may be digging into the skin with the aim of providing immediate relief. In addition to physical treatment of the nail, a thorough assessment of the nail can be made including any decisions around beginning a course of antibiotics to address infection. 

Once the offending nail edge has been removed, your podiatrist will offer advice in the acute management of your ingrown toenail including ongoing observation, dressing plans and organising a review appointment. 

In cases of severe ingrown toenails, repetitive flare-ups or failed conservative care, a partial nail-avulsion may be appropriate in the management of in-grown toenails. 

Partial nail avulsion is a minor surgical procedure done in the rooms at Talaria Podiatrist of Thornbury, takes approximately 1 hour where the patient will be able to walk out immediately after. The procedure itself is done under local anaesthetic and involves the removal of the offending nail edge right down to the nail matrix. Once the offending nail edge has been removed, application of phenol will commence which stops the nail growing back in the same corner. Over the following weeks, your podiatrist will schedule relevant appointments to ensure the safe and effective recovery as the small wound site heals, as well as implementing a dressing plan to carefully manage infection risk. 

Partial nail avulsion

Below is an example of what the procedure looks like in reality with images from a case in the clinic.

  1. Painful ingrown toenails requiring partial nail avulsions due to failed conservative management and ongoing infection risk. 
  2. After the offending nail edges have been removed under local anaesthetic 
  3. The toes have been dressed after surgery
  4. 1st review appointment 3 days after the procedure
Ingrown toenail

If you have any questions regarding the management of your ingrown toenail, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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