This painful condition occurs when the nail has grown into the skin at the sides of the nail and is more common in males and teenagers. This causes the area to become painful, weep, bleed or exude pus.
It is caused by injury to the nail, (including loss of the nail through sport or injury), incorrect nail cutting, or tight fitting shoes. In many cases the shape of the toe nail may itself be the main cause & the condition can run in families.
• Always cut the nails straight across, or follow the shape of the toe nail- don't dig down the sides.
• Wash your feet daily and wear a clean pair of cotton socks every day.
• Wear well fitting/roomy shoes that preferably allow the feet to breathe.
In most cases a single visit to the podiatrist will be suffice to alleviate the condition. Treatment will involve removing the offending piece of nail with small nail removal. If the toe is very painful then a local anaesthetic to completely numb the toe prior to treatment can be given. A sterile dressing would then be applied and it is best to keep the toe dry for at least 24 hours. However you will be pain free and able to walk immediately.
If this fails to resolve the problem, then a Partial Nail Avulsion is indicated. This, minor surgery is performed by the podiatrist at our surgery under local anesthetic injection. This procedure usually takes about 45 minutes & should resolve the problem. The procedure can still be done even if the toe is infected as the site of the injection is well away from the area of infection and we are happy to treat patients of all ages.
Following the minor nail removal, a large dressing is placed over the toe, which must be kept dry for 48 hours. A series of approximately 2 re-dressing appointments are needed and the toe should be kept covered until the toe has healed. This can take between 3-6 weeks. (Longer in cases of impaired circulation). The podiatrist will discuss post operative care. This procedure has a very high success rate, and is aesthetically pleasing. Only further damage to the nail may lead to a recurrence.