An ingrown toenail develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which becomes red, swollen and tender.
The big toe is often affected, either on one or both sides. Other possible symptoms include:
pain if pressure is placed on the toe
inflammation of the skin at the end of the toe
a build-up of fluid in the area surrounding the toe
an overgrowth of skin around the affected toe
white or yellow pus coming from the affected area
A number of things can cause an ingrown toenail to develop, including:
badly cut toenails – cutting your toenails too short, or cutting the edges, will encourage the skin to fold over your nail and the nail to grow into the skin
wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights – this places pressure on the skin around your toenail; the skin may be pierced if it's pressed on to your toenail
sweaty feet – if the skin around your toenails is soft, it's easier for your nail to pierce it and embed itself within it
injury – for example, stubbing your toe can sometimes cause an ingrown toenail to develop
natural shape of the nail – the sides of curved or fan-shaped toenails are more likely to press into the skin surrounding the nail
A fungal nail infection can cause your toenail to thicken or widen.
Partial nail avulsion
Partial nail avulsion is a very effective and commonly used operation for treating ingrown toenails.
A local anaesthetic is used to numb your toe and the edges of your toenail are cut away. A chemical called phenol is applied to the affected area to prevent the nail growing back and becoming ingrown in the future.
A course of antibiotics may be prescribed if your nail is infected, and any pus will be drained away.
Total nail avulsion
Total nail avulsion may be necessary if your nail is thick and pressing into the skin surrounding your toe.
After your toenail has been removed, you’ll have an indentation where your nail used to be. However, it's perfectly safe for you not to have a toenail.
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 ideally to help with healing.
If you would like any more information or wish to make an appointment please contact us. Appointments can be made by phoning the clinic on 03 688 9095, or email us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
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