Ingrown toenails are a common and painful foot complaint that can affect patients of any age. Whilst it is not uncommon to see infants present with this condition, it is most commonly seen in teenagers and young adults, although no age group is exempt.
Irritation, or even penetration, of the skin around the nail plate is the underlying cause of the condition. The toe will present with redness, pain and swelling and often infection complicates the pathology.
A number of different causes are attributed to the formation of an ingrown toenail and these include:
- Trauma or damage causing a malformed nail plate.
- Poor cutting technique leaving nail spikes or jagged edges.
- Inherited nail shape being too deep, too wide or involuted.
- Narrow-toed or poor fitting footwear.
- Anatomical deformity of the affected digit.
Fortunately, ingrown toenails are most commonly managed with simple conservative care. Clearing the nail spike, educating patients on more appropriate cutting techniques or advice on footwear will resolve the majority of cases.
In more complicated cases, permanent correction of the nail plate is required to ensure the ingrown toenail does not return. With the aid of local anaesthesia, the edge (or edges) of the affected nail are simply removed and the nail root is chemically cauterized to halt its regrowth. The procedure usually takes less than 45 minutes and results in little or no post-operative pain allowing patients to resume normal activity within 24 hours.
In some cases antibiotics are needed to control infection and, as Bernard and Daniel are both Endorsed Podiatric Prescribers in Victoria, they can provide prescriptions for these drugs avoiding unnecessary visits to the G.P.
Over 2500 of these procedures have been performed at the Essendon Foot Clinic since opening in 1986.