Painful ingrown toenails are very common in all ages, especially adolescent boys.  It is easy for toenails, especially on the big toe, to grow into the skin at the sides of the nail, causing the skin to swell and become very painful and unsightly, as well as leaving the area very susceptible to infection.

Likely causes of this are poor self care, incorrect fitting footwear, trauma and in some cases involuted nail deformities that are more curved and susceptible to growing into the skin causing pain and infection if the skin is breached.

There are 2 types of ingrown toenails: active and none active.

  • Active ingrown toenails  have breached the skin causing a wound to develop, often accompanied with an infection, the nail continues to grow and fleshy tissue develops making it difficult and painful to treat without a local anaesthetic and often require nail surgery.
  • None active ingrown toenails have not breached the skin yet and are often treated without the use of local anaesthetic or Antibiotics.  However, nail surgery is an option if there is recurring pain and difficulty self managing.

If nail surgery is indicated the method used will depend on a few factors including; the level of nail damage/deformity, at what stage is the ingrown nail, is it affecting one or both sides?  Often only the side of the nail will need to be removed, whereas in other cases the whole nail will be, but efforts are always made to preserve as much of the nail as is possible.

Achieving successful outcomes If nail surgery is the method of choice a careful assessment and history taking is essential and clear Communication is Crucial in achieving successful outcomes.  

Before the procedure begins the toe is prepped & will be numbed with local anaesthetic so the procedure is painless.  I will apply a chemical called Phenol to the nail bed, which will prevent the regrowth of the nail, this treatment is successful in 97% of cases. Once the nail is removed and Phenol applied, I will dress the area with sterile bandages and advise on suitable post operative care.

Your toe will be a bit sore after the procedure, however this will ease with rest & painkillers.  The procedure is very common and safe and complications are very rare, conducting a full assessment and consultation with you beforehand ensures we decide the best way to treat individual problems together.