Ingrown Toenail Surgery
At Solutions Allied Health, we understand the discomfort and pain that ingrown toenails can cause, and we want to provide our readers with valuable information on how to treat this issue.
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. This condition is most commonly found in the big toe but can affect any toe on the foot. Ingrown toenails can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper nail trimming, injury to the toe, and inherited nail shape.
What are the symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?
In some cases, the cause of an ingrown toenail may not be immediately identifiable. However, a thorough assessment by a qualified podiatrist can help identify any risk factors and develop an effective treatment plan.
Improper toenail-cutting practices are the most common cause of ingrown toenails. Cutting the nails too short or down the sides can lead to the nails growing into the surrounding soft tissue. Wearing shoes that are too narrow, fungal infections, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), nail trauma, certain medications, genetics, and even the biomechanics and structural anatomy of your foot can all contribute to the development of an ingrown toenail.
Who is affected by ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails can affect anyone regardless of age or background, but some patients face a higher risk of complications. Those who are immunocompromised, have circulation issues, or people with diabetes are particularly vulnerable and should seek prompt treatment to avoid further complications.
Research suggests that 2.5-5% of the population suffers from ingrown toenails, and the prevalence appears to be increasing in recent years. Adolescents between the ages of 12-30 are particularly susceptible to ingrown toenails, with males being affected twice as often as females.
Treatment options for ingrown toenails
Effective treatment for ingrown toenails requires careful consideration by a qualified podiatrist to achieve the most desirable outcomes. The appropriate treatment can vary depending on the stage in which the ingrown toenail has been diagnosed, and may range from conservative techniques to surgical interventions.
Conservative modalities are often recommended for mild to moderate cases (stages 1 and 2) of ingrown toenails, while more severe cases (stage 3) may require surgical intervention.
Other internal factors, such as specific allergies, pregnancy, bleeding disorders, or substantial medical histories, may also influence treatment selection. Our podiatrists are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to evaluate and treat a wide range of conditions and will work closely with you to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
There are several conservative measures available to treat ingrown toenails. These measures can be highly effective for patients diagnosed in stages 1 or 2 and may include:
Proper footwear selection can ensure adequate room in the toe box, preventing the nails from growing into the surrounding skin.
Podiatry nail resection
This involves a podiatrist carefully cutting out the nail spicule with or without local anesthesia. It is often the first-line treatment for mild to moderate cases of ingrown toenails.
Correct nail trimming and education
This includes avoiding curved cutting and leaving sharp edges, which can contribute to ingrown toenails.
For more severe cases of ingrown toenails (stage 3), surgical procedures may be necessary. These procedures are performed under local anesthesia, which is administered by a podiatrist.
Ingrown toenail surgery
Ingrown toenail surgery is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office. During the surgery, the doctor will numb the affected toe and remove the ingrown portion of the nail. In some cases, the doctor may also remove a small portion of the surrounding tissue to prevent the nail from growing back into the skin. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour, and patients can return to normal activities within a few days.
Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA)
A partial nail avulsion is a surgical procedure that involves removing a portion of the nail that is causing discomfort or pain due to an ingrown toenail. During the procedure, the affected portion of the nail is carefully removed by your podiatrist. This may involve a small incision in the affected area, allowing your podiatrist to carefully lift and remove the section of the nail that is growing into the surrounding skin.
After removing the nail, your podiatrist will then apply a solution of phenol to the nail bed. Phenol is a chemical that helps prevent the nail from regrowing and can help reduce the likelihood of future ingrown toenails. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which means you will be awake but will not feel any pain during the procedure.
Following the procedure, you may experience some mild pain, swelling, and redness, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and other self-care measures. Your podiatrist will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions, including how to care for your toe, what activities to avoid, and when to follow up.
Total Nail Avulsion (TNA)
If you have a severe case of an ingrown toenail, a total nail avulsion procedure may be recommended by your podiatrist to help alleviate your symptoms and prevent future occurrences. During a total nail avulsion, the entire nail plate is carefully removed from the toe, including the root of the nail. This allows for the underlying tissue to be treated and promotes proper healing.
Similarly to a PNA, this procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which means that the toe will be numb and you will not feel any pain.
Get help with an ingrown toenail
Ingrown toenail surgery is a safe and effective way to treat this common condition. By removing the ingrown portion of the nail, patients can experience immediate relief from pain and discomfort. Additionally, surgery can prevent future ingrown toenails from occurring, which can improve overall foot health and quality of life.
Don’t let an ingrown toenail impact your quality of life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about the treatment options available to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling.
- What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail can include pain, redness, swelling, and, in more severe cases, pus and infection.
- Who is affected by ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, but adolescents between the ages of 12-30 are particularly susceptible, with males being affected twice as often as females. Those who are immunocompromised, have circulation issues, or are diabetic are particularly vulnerable to complications.
- What are the treatment options for ingrown toenails?
Treatment options for ingrown toenails vary depending on the severity of the condition. Conservative measures, such as soaking the affected toe, proper footwear selection, podiatry nail resection, and nail trimming education, are often recommended for mild to moderate cases. Surgical procedures, such as partial nail avulsion or total nail avulsion, may be necessary for more severe cases.
- What is ingrown toenail surgery?
Ingrown toenail surgery is a relatively simple procedure that involves removing the ingrown portion of the toenail under local anesthesia. In some cases, a small portion of the surrounding tissue may also be removed to prevent the nail from growing back into the skin. The procedure usually takes less than an hour, and patients can return to normal activities within a few days.
- Is ingrown toenail surgery covered by Medicare?
Medicare does not provide coverage for toenail surgery. However, eligible patients may get a referral from a General Practitioner for Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) to be eligible for a subsidy. Alternatively, private health insurance can assist in covering any out-of-pocket expenses.