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Ingrown toenails are one of the most common complaints seen by Podiatrists They are very painful, and need specialist treatment, as they cannot resolve by themselves. They can be acute, and occur due to an injury to the toe, or they can be chronic, which means the patient has had the problem for a long period of time.
It is usually the large toe which is affected, however, it can also affect the smaller toes. An Ingrown toenail is when a splinter spike or side of the nail grows Into the skin at the side of the toe. It most commonly affects teenagers and young adults, however it can affect any age group.
It’s also important to seek medical advice if you have diabetes and an ingrown toenail. Having diabetes could affect how your toenail heals.
- Poor nail cutting
- Involuted or fan shaped nails
- Sweaty feet
- Tight footwear socks and tights
- Fungal toe nail
- Thickened nails
- Pain, if pressure is applied to the toe
- Red and hot to the touch
- Inflammation and peeling of the skin at the end of the toe
- Build-up of fluid in the area surrounding the toe
- Overgrowth of skin called granulation tissue around the affected toe
- White or yellow pus coming from the affected area
- Unpleasant smell
Treatment involves removing the offending bit of nail. In severe cases nail surgery is done under local anaesthetic which is a relatively painless procedure that removes the whole nail or only a section of it and a chemical is used to prevent that portion of the nail from re-growing thus preventing the problem ever reoccurring. This is cosmetically a very effective technique. The whole procedure takes about an hour and is performed on a day care basis, meaning no overnight stays in hospital and minimum disruption to your everyday life. Normal activities can resume very soon after the operation. Total healing can take between 4 – 6 weeks. Without treatment, an ingrown toenail can become infected.
Total nail avulsion may be necessary if your nail is thick and pressing into the skin surrounding your toe.
After surgery :-
After toenail surgery, your toe will be wrapped in a sterile bandage. This helps to stem any bleeding and prevent infection. Rest your foot and keep it raised for one to two days after the operation.
To help reduce the pain, you may need to take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and wear soft or open-toed shoes for the first few days after surgery.