Ingrowing toe nails

Causes of ingrowing toe nails

One side or both sides of a nail can dig into the surrounding skin. This is painful and the area is swollen and red. Infection can occur with pus present. I can deal with the ingrowing nail by trimming the nail, if necessary using local anaesthetic to numb the toe. If the problem is severe or frequent, I can remove the ingrowing portion of the nail permanently, using phenol (a caustic liquid) to kill off the nail cells on the nail bed. This is called a nail surgery procedure. The nail does not grow back where it is treated. The healing is between 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. You can do your normal activities and just need to bathe and dress the toe each day. There are no stitches to be removed.

Damaged Nails

A similar treatment can be used where nails have become severely damaged due to trauma or infection. In this case the nail may be removed but no phenol used which may help the nail to grow back in a more normal manner.

Podiatric Surgery

In some cases a referral to a podiatric surgeon may be recommended. These are podiatrists who have taken further training and specialise in foot surgery. This could cover a range of problems but common reasons for referral include hammer toes, bunions and arthritic joints.