INGROWN TOENAIL SURGERY SPECIALIST IN CAMBRIDGE
Your Questions About Toenail Surgery & Ingrown Toenails Are Answered In This Section.
If your toenail started to hurt it is always advised to seek assistance from a podiatrist as early as possible to prevent complications. To book a consultation with a podiatrist PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK.
Q – What’s An Ingrown Toenail? Where Do Ingrown Toenails Hurt?
An ingrown toenail is one that pierces the flesh of the toe. It can feel as if you have a splinter, be extremely painful and inflamed or infected. In more severe cases, it can cause pus and bleeding. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toenail, but can affect the other toes too. Whereas a nail that is curling (involuted or convoluted) into the flesh, but isn’t actually piercing the skin, isn’t an ingrown toenail but can feel very painful and also appear red and inflamed as well.
Q – How And Why Ingrown Toenail Happen? Are Ingrown Toenails Hereditary?
There are many genetic factors that can make you prone to ingrown toenails including your posture (the way you stand), your gait (the way you walk) and any foot deformity such as a bunion, hammer toes or excessive pronation of the feet (when your foot rolls inward excessively). Your nails may also have a natural tendency to splay or curl out instead of growing straight, encouraging your nail to grow outwards or inwards into the flesh.
Q – Tight footwear, hosiery and socks can also push your toe flesh onto the nail so that it pierces the skin. Also, if you sweat excessively or don’t rotate your footwear, this makes the skin moist and weak so that it is easily penetrated by the nail. If you have brittle nails with sharp edges or are in the habit of breaking off bits of nail that are sticking out, you are also more likely to get an ingrown toenail. In addition, the wearing of support hose that is ill-fitting and squeezes the toes or likewise, the wearing of shoes with tight toe boxes.
However, one of the most common causes is not cutting your toenails properly such as cutting nails too low in order to relieve the pressure and discomfort of an involuted nail.
Less common is a fungal infection or in some cases particular types of medication, eg. isotretinoin.
Q – Can Ingrown Toenail Cause Infection?
Yes! So if your toenail started to hurt at the sides then this is the time to see a podiatrist. To book a consultation with a podiatrist PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK.
Assistant of Podiatrist and Business Partner – Roman Rowlands S.A.C. Dip (Advanced) and Podiatrist Chiropodist Cambridge – Mrs Iryna Rowlands BSc (Hons), MCPod
Q – Is It Serious? When Ingrown Toenail Is Infected? Will Ingrown Toenails Go Away? Will Ingrown Toenail Grow Out? Will Ingrown Toenail Go Away On Its Own? When Will Ingrown Toenail Go Away?
If left untreated, the infection can spread to the rest of the toe and foot and could lead to surgery. The quicker you treat it, the less painful the treatment. To make an appointment to see our podiatrist PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK
Q – Who Gets It?
Active, sporty people are particularly prone, because they sweat more. Younger people are more likely to get it (as they pick their nails more, compared to older people who may not reach their toes!).
Q – How Do I Know I Have It? Where Do Ingrown Toenails Occur?
The most common symptom is pain followed by some form of inflammation in the surrounding nail area.
However, not everyone identifies an ingrown toenail correctly. Sometimes, they have a curly nail which has a lot of debris (dirt or fluff) underneath it or a corn or callus down the side of the nail, which can be nearly as painful. However, if it’s a corn, the pain tends to be throbbing as opposed to the sharp pain you get with an ingrown toenail. If this is the case, your podiatrist will remove the debris, and if necessary, thin the nail.
Q – How Do I Prevent It?
Firstly, learn to cut your nails properly. Nail cutters aren’t a good idea because the curved cutting edge can cut the flesh and nail scissors can slip. It’s best to use nail nippers (available online from our partner SIMPLYFEET – use code XQ9R3460 to get 10% OFF with EVERY order) because they have a smaller cutting blade but a longer handle. Cut your nails straight across and don’t cut too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. Also, cut them after a bath or shower when the nail is much softer.
Good hygiene can go a long way to preventing ingrown toenails. Avoid moist, soggy feet by letting rotating your footwear so each pair has a chance to dry out thoroughly. Avoid man-made materials (synthetics) and choose socks and shoes of natural fibre and which fit properly. Keep your feet clean and dry and in the summer and wear open-toed sandals to let air get to your toes as much as possible.
If you have diabetes, are taking steroids or are on anti-coagulants, DON’T attempt to cut your nails or remove the ingrowing spike of nail yourself.
Q – What Are The Treatments? Who treats ingrown toenail? How ingrown toenail is treated? Which Antibiotics For Ingrown Toenail?
Before you are seen by a podiatrist, you can relieve the discomfort by bathing your foot in a salty footbath which helps to prevent infection and reduces inflammation. Then apply a clean sterile dressing, especially if you have a discharge and rest your foot as much as possible.
To book a consultation with a podiatrist PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK.
How a podiatrist will treat you will depend largely on the severity of your condition:
- For the most basic painful and irritable ingrowing toenail, the offending spike of nail will be removed and covered with an antiseptic dressing.
- For toes too painful to touch, a local anaesthetic will be injected before removing the offending portion of nail.
- For involuted nails, part of the nail that is curling into the flesh is removed and then the edges of the nail are filed to a smooth surface.
- For any bleeding or discharge from an infection or even excessive healing flesh (hypergranulation tissue) around the nail, antibiotics will be prescribed to beat the infection as well as having the offending spike removed.
- For those particularly prone to ingrown toenails from underlying problems such as poor gait, partial nail avulsion (PNA) may be recommended along with finding a more permanent solution to the underlying condition. This procedure is done under a local anaesthetic where 8-10% of the nail is removed (including the root) so that the nail permanently becomes slightly narrower. The chemical phenol cauterises the nail and prevents it regrowing in the corners. This is over 95% successful. You will, however, have to go back to your podiatrist for a number of re-dressings. After surgery, the overall appearance of the nail looks normal – to the extent that some people even forget which nail they’ve had done!
Q – When Should I See A Podiatrist About It?
Visit a podiatrist if you experience any:
- Persistent pain in your toe from the ingrowing nail
- Symptoms of infection, especially if you have Diabetes or a poor immune system
- Condition which affects the nerves and/or feeling in your foot.
If you experience any foot care issues which do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care within three weeks, it is recommended to seek the help of a healthcare professional such as a Podiatrist to refer you to your local NHS trust for free treatment but if you do not qualify for this, or need urgent attention, you should contact Rowlands Foot Care Podiatry either by email or call us on 01223 926365.
To reduce risk of infection during a toenail surgery all materials used have to be sterile.
Onychocryptosis aka Ingrown Toenail
Q – What Does An Ingrown Toenail Look Like?
There are 3 main stages of onychocryptosis and each stage will have a different presentation (see image):
- Stage 1: The nail has grown into the skin on the side. The skin hurts and has become inflamed.
- Stage 2: New, inflamed tissue has grown and overlapped the edge of the ingrown toenail. The tissue is weeping and producing pus.
- Stage 3: The skin around the toenail is chronically inflamed and keeps oozing pus. The hypergranulation tissue has increased in size over the nail.
Q – Is Ingrown Toenail Surgery Painful?
Toenail surgery procedure is not painful because it is carried out under local anaesthetic.