Ingrown Toe Nails

A frequent complaint of patients is that of ingrown toenails. This can be a very painful condition, yet is easily cared for in the office.

Ingrown toenails can be caused by many things such as; improper trimming of the nails, tight socks, hose, shoes, nail biting, heredity, and sometimes just by bad luck. When the nail edge grows into the skin folds at the edge of the nail, or if the skin at the nail edge becomes swollen into the nail, the area may become painful. After some time, the nails can actually break through the skin at the nail edge (margin), and an infection results. Antibiotics can help the infection, but unless the ingrown portion of toenail is removed, the infection will return over and over again.

In the office, with local anesthesia, the ingrown portion of toenail may be trimmed and removed to allow drainage of the infection. Antibiotics are often used in this case as well, but many times just removing the bad portion of the toenail allows the body to heal itself. In more chronic cases, the nail margin is often removed in its entirety, and the nail growth root (matrix) is swabbed with a chemical called phenol. This prevents re-growth of the nail edge. After healing is complete, the toenail is a bit narrower but does not cause any further problems. This surgery is done in the office under local anesthesia and the patient is allowed to return to work the next day.

In cases of severe toenail deformity, the entire nail may be removed permanently rather than just the nail margin.

Avon Podiatry
Avon Station Medical Center
8244 E. US Highway 36, suite 120
Avon, Indiana 46123



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