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Permanent Solutions to Ingrown Toenails


Ingrown toenails are one of the most painful conditions that I treat in my clinics, but the treatment itself is virtually painless.

It always surprises me when meet patients who have been having an ingrown toenail treated for a long time sometimes many years and they have not been offered a permanent solution to the problem.

It makes me suspicious that either the person who is treating them wants them to keep coming back to have the same problem treated, or that they are not qualified to do the surgery and therefore working illegally.

In order to work in Spain as a podiatrist/chiropodist you must be able to to do basic surgery under local anesthetic. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

What is an ingrown toenail?

Well it’s where part of the edge or front of the nail pushes into the skin causing the toe to become sore swollen and inflamed. The condition occurs mainly on the 1st toe and is really very much like having a splinter. It is a foreign body in the skin which needs removing. Just like a splinter once removed the pain disappears and the area settles down and returns to normal.

Sometimes that is all that is needed, if the nail was cut badly taking away that sharp or rough edge is all that is required a little careful cutting by someone who knows what they are doing and is at the right end of the body to see what they are doing.

Unfortunately often the problem re occurs this is usually because the nail has become a little curved. This is when a permanent solution should at least be offered.

This is how it works in my clinics, if you present with an ingrown toenail, initially I will remove the bit and make you comfortable on the first visit, I will talk about surgery as an option but this option is up to the patient. My advice is usually something like. If this a problem once or twice a year come back and I will just cut a little bit away.

But if this keeps being a problem every month or two then you should consider surgery as it is a permanent solution. This is elective surgery so you decide if you want it and when it is convenient to have the procedure. I am happy to keep cutting a little bit off if that is what the patient wants. Some people are happy with that others may not be suitable for surgery due to problems with health, circulation and diabetes are considerations.

Ninety percent of the time I do not remove the whole nail but just a strip all the way down the side so after you still have a nail and it doesn’t really look much different except I have removed the bit that curved into the skin.

Although I do not like to say it is a totally painless procedure, the vast majority of people and I do a lot of this on children, say it is virtually pain free. The anesthetic is put in at the base of the toe where it joins the foot away from the sore bit and this makes the whole toe numb. Once the part of nail is removed the area is treated with phenol to prevent the nail growing back. I allow people to swim, shower and get on with life following the surgery but most people will want to be in an open shoe for at least a week following the procedure.

If you have been suffering for a long time it is really something to consider and nothing to fear.

Philip Mann Podiatrist Chiropodist 686 912 307