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In Growing Toenails

Introduction to In Growing Toenails

In growing toenail is one of the most common foot complaints treated by a chiropodist. This condition can be very painful and patients may often be very reluctant to have the condition treated. However, we can assure you that this condition will not resolve itself and requires specialist care. An in growing toenail is caused by a splinter of nail or the whole nail causing pressure into the skin. Some in growing toenails are acute which means that they have occurred due to a injury to the toe. Others are chronic, which means the patient has had the problem for a long period of time. The large toe is usually affected however it can also affect the lesser toes.

Symptoms of In Growing Toenails

  • The condition may be aggravated by wearing tight shoes or shoes with an inadequate depth.
  • In acute conditions the toe will be very painful to touch and there may be presence of an infection.
  • In a chronic condition the toe will only be painful when the patient is walking with shoes on.


In Growing Toenails

Causes of In Growing Toe nails

  • Trauma to the nail
  • Improper cutting of toenails
  • Tight shoes or hosiery
  • Abnormal shape of nail plate
  • Abnormal thickness of nail

Treatment for In Growing Nails

  • If the condition is chronic then the chiropodist will trim a small section of the nail to relieve the pressure from the in growing toenail. He/she may also use dressings, pads, nail braces and silicone devices in order to prevent the condition occurring again.
  • If the condition is at an acute stage (red, swollen and possibly infected), then surgical removal of a section of the nail plate or the entire nail plate may be necessary. This is called a partial nail avulsion (PNA). A PNA involves injecting the toe with a local anesthetic followed by removal of the affected section of nail (refer to diagram below). The nail bed will then be treated with a chemical in order to prevent the section of nail which was removed from growing back. This procedure is very common and is not painful. The site usually heals within 4-6 weeks following the surgery.

  • The chiropodist may recommend the use of an antibiotic to combat an infected in growing toenail.
  • Cut toenails straight across and leave them slightly longer to prevent an in growing toenail
  • Avoid tight shoes

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