Onychocrytosis, or ingrown toenails, is a common condition that affects people of all ages. A piece of the nail protruding from the side of the nail sulcus skin or into the nail bed itself causes an ingrown nail. This allows bacteria to enter the area, potentially resulting in a toe infection.
If the infected toenail becomes infected, the pain can range from mild to severe. Pain can become so severe that even simple tasks like walking become painful, limiting your ability to wear enclosed shoes and participate in sports. The nail’s edges or corners grow into the skin, causing tenderness, soreness, and often redness and bleeding.
The pressure from the ingrowth of the nail edge into the skin of the toe causes an ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis). Inflammation occurs when the edge of the nail breaks through the skin. It may start out as a minor annoyance, but it can quickly escalate into an infection of the adjacent skin (cellulitis) and/or become a recurring problem. The large (great) toes are the most commonly affected by ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails are caused by an imbalance between the size of the nail and the enlargement of the nail skin edge. Improper toenail trimming, an inherited or hereditary condition, and poor shoe fitting can all aggravate this condition. Nail picking and overly aggressive pedicures are also common causes. The toenails of some people naturally curl inward (known as pincer nails). These toenails can quickly become inflamed and painful. Adolescents and athletes sweat more frequently. Nails and skin become soft as a result of this. The softened skin may eventually split and be pierced by the thin nail.
Our surgeon will examine the toenails first to determine the best treatment option. A simple conservative nail trimming may suffice if the ingrown toenail is minor. Minor ingrown toenail surgery is usually required in most cases. This is the most effective treatment option for ingrown toenails, and it is very likely to provide a long-term solution.
Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA) is a minor procedure that involves a local anesthetic administered by your Podiatrist to ensure that the surgery is painless. A chemical technique called phenolisaton is used to prevent the nail from becoming ingrown in the future after a section of the nail plate is removed. The Podiatrist will dress the nail, and the anesthetic will last long enough to cause minimal discomfort. The recovery period lasts about 3-6 weeks, with a few dressing changes and a final checkup to ensure proper healing.
To avoid recurrence, the surgeon will determine the underlying cause of ingrown toenails. Patients may be given recommendations such as changing their shoes, improving their foot hygiene, or getting help with nail cutting. Our surgeon will design a treatment and recovery plan that is tailored to each patient’s lifestyle.
We may recommend a Total Nail Avulsion (TNA) to remove the entire toenail in more severe cases where the nail is severely deformed and causing pain on both edges of the toe.
1. What is the proper way to cut my toenails?
Cut across your toenail rather than down the sides. Follow the natural curvature of the nails. Cutting too far down the nail’s edge with an incorrect cutting technique can result in sharp edges that irritate and pierce the skin.
2. Is it important to wear shoes if you have ingrown toenails?
Without a doubt. It’s critical to wear footwear that fits your foot shape. Shoes that are too short or narrow/pointed in the forefoot area will squeeze the toes together, aggravating any ingrown toenails. Our surgeon can help you choose the right shoes.
3. Who should I go to for an ingrown toenail treatment?
Dr. Arth Shah is a qualified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in the treatment of ingrown toenails and other foot pain issues.
After ingrown toenail surgery, a person can help speed up their recovery by doing the following: