Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. They may be caused by poor nail cutting, damage to the nail ‘bed’ from shoes or injury, or as an inherited nail shape. They often become infected which increases the pain and can cause extensive swelling.
Treatment for ingrown toenails falls into two categories;
- Conservative Treatment: This involves clearing away the offending nail edge and treating any infection with antiseptic or antibiotics. This can usually be done painlessly without the need for local anaesthetic to numb the area. While successful in the short term the ingrown nail margin may grow back, producing further infection.
- Surgical Treatment (Partial Nail Ablation): This involves injection of a local anaesthetic to numb the toe. The affected nail margin is then removed along with a small portion of the nail bed from which it grows. A chemical is then applied to prevent any regrowth. This is a relatively painless procedure which does not generally require any interruption to daily activities, such as work or study.