An ingrown toenail is one that pierces the flesh of the toe. It may be extremely painful and inflamed or infected. However, sometimes the nail can curl into the flesh without piercing the skin. This is known as convoluted or involuted nail. It can also be very painful and appear red and inflamed. Big toenails are most commonly affected by both conditions, however other toenails may also become ingrown.
You should see a podiatrist if you experience persistent pain or see symptoms of infection. If you have diabetes, poor immune system or are taking steroids or blood thinners, don’t attempt to cut your nails or remove the ingrowing spike of the nail by yourself.
At South Dublin Podiatry we will treat your ingrown toenail depending on its severity:
- Irritable and painful ingrown toenails will be cut back and the offending spike will be removed. We will use a mild analgesic spray during the treatment to minimise your discomfort. Your toe will then be dressed with an antiseptic dressing.
- When the toe is too painful to touch, we will administer local anaesthetic prior to removing the offending portion of the nail.
- The sides of involuted nails, which curl into the flesh, are removed and the edges are then filed to ensure smooth surface.
- Patients with reoccurring ingrown toenails will be offered either a partial nail avulsion (PNA) or a toe nail brace. PNA is a minor surgical procedure, done under local anaesthetic, during which the offending part of the nail and its root are removed. A chemical called phenol is then applied to the nail bed in order to prevent regrowth. This procedure is over 95% successful leaving you with normal nail appearance. After the surgery you will be asked to attend the clinic for a number of re-dressings and then continue to re-dress it at home until the site is healed.