Nail Problems

Ingrowing Toenails.

An ingrown toenail is when the side of a nail causes an irritation to the skin. This can create an open wound, prone to infection. The body treats the nail as a foreign object and tries to push it out creating lots of inflammation, often pain and sometimes pus.

What Causes an Ingrowing Toenail?

There are a number of causes, it may be one or a few of these:

  • Badly cut toenails
  • Sweaty feet
  • A ‘curly nail’ (some nails become abruptly curved at the edges)
  • Ill fitting footwear
  • Sport / Trauma

Will it get worse?

Yes, usually the infection and swelling get worse if left untreated. What are the common symptoms?

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Foul odour
  • Weeping / Bleeding

What can I do to reduce the pain?

  • Bath it in warm salty water daily
  • Keep covered with a sterile dressing
  • Wear footwear with plenty of room around the toes
  • Visit a Podiatrist
  • Get a course of antibiotics from your GP (if infected)

How will a Podiatrist treat an Ingrown Toenail?

Most ingrown toenails can be treated conservatively by cutting out the offending piece of nail. Some people suffer from recurrent ingrown nails and conservative treatment doesn’t cure it long term. The long term solution for recurrent ingrown toenails is surgery to permanently remove the troublesome part of the nail.

What does Ingrown Toenail Surgery involve?

The most common procedure we carry out is called a Partial Nail Avulsion (removal) with Phenolisation (destruction of the nail bed). This is when the problamatic side of the toenail is permanently removed under local anaesthetic. The destruction of the nail bed prevents regrowth and you are left with a slightly thinner nail. This procedure is highly successful.

When will I be able to walk again?

You can walk immediately after the surgery. We advise you to rest for the first 24 hours and keep the foot elevated. You should be able to drive again when you feel you can perform an emergency stop, this is usually the next day, always check with your insurance company. You should be able to return to work the next day depending on your comfort levels. You will have to keep a sterile dressing on you toe until it has healed in 4-6 weeks. You will be able to return to sport as soon as it has healed in 4-6 weeks.

Thickened nails / Fungal Nails

As we age our toenails naturally thicken. Nails also thicken as a result of skin conditions such as psoriasis, the long-term pressure of badly fitting footwear, trauma or reactive arthritis. Fungal nails are usually secondary to a trauma which has damaged the nail bed.  Athlete’s Foot can then infect your toenails. Fungal nail infections are very common.  If your nails are infected they may discolour and thicken.  They may also be crumbly in appearance or become painful or swollen.

Treatment & Prevention

Wear footwear with plenty of room in the toe box. Catching any sign of a nail infection or athletes foot on the skin early.