Ingrown toenails or onychocryptosis is a painful condition that occurs when the side of the nail pierces through the skin surrounding the nail, or the sulcus. This causes swelling and a painful infection. While mild cases only hurt while wearing shoes, severe cases can be painful to even the slightest touch of a bedsheet.
For someone untrained in surgery, it is very difficult to find the root of the ingrown toenails, and cutting down the side of the nail to remove the ingrown portion will create a sharp nail spike instead, which causes an even worse infection.
Some clinics or pharmacies may also try to sell you nail softeners, antibiotics or ointments. These do not work, although they may help with the secondary symptoms of ingrown toenails like pain. Antibiotics can help with the secondary infection caused by ingrown toenails, but they will not solve the root of the problem.
Pedicurist | Manicurist
Unsuccessful self-treatments may lead victims of ingrown toenails to visit a pedicurist. More “helpful” pedicurists may also discover ingrown toenails in their clients and try to remove them on their own, but this is usually done wrongly, leaving a painful nail spike (first picture above) which can lead to infection.
Pedicurists are not foot surgeons and do not have the proper surgical-grade, sterilized tools nor the skills to cut out the ingrown portions of ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails should only be treated by trained foot doctors in order to avoid further complications.
Conservative | Monthly Trimming
Permanent | Surgery – Matrix Phenolization
Young women 18-40
Fortunately, treating ingrown toenails is easy and safe. A common treatment we provide at Family Podiatry Centre is a partial nail avulsion utilizing matrix phenolisation – this procedure takes only 35 minutes and involves removing the damaged part of the nail root (the matrix) so that it never grows back again. This results in a beautifully reshaped nail that is about 3mm narrower in width than before.