Case Study: Permanently Correcting A Painful Ingrown Toenail
- Factory worker, works 6 days per week on his feet.
- Dad to two young, active kids
- Painful ingrown toenail on left big toe
- History of ingrown toenails
We first met Shane three months ago when he came in with one painful ingrown toenail on his left big toe.
Shane reported having ingrown toenails a few times over the last four years, though he said it’d never been this bad or swollen previously.
Shane relies on walking and being on his feet all day for work, and wears steel-capped boots all day during his long shifts. The pain was now interfering with his ability to perform regular daily tasks and unlike other times, trying to cut back the nail himself wasn’t easing the pain.
When we examined Shane’s toe, we found that it was not only ingrown but also infected and very swollen. The skin next to the side of the ingrown nail was red, tender, and protruding up above the nail - making the side of the nail difficult to get to.
There was yellow exudate between the skin and nail, typical for this kind of infection. Shane reported a severe level of pain on even a gentle touch.
We presented two treatment option to Shane:
Shane decided he wanted to get rid of the painful problem once and for all, and so decided on the PNA procedure. While conservative care can provide immediate relief, it does not stop the problem from occurring again in the future. Given Shane’s history of ingrown toenails, we agreed that this would be the best option for him going forward.
The Partial Nail Avulsion Procedure
This simple procedure is performed in-clinic within an hour by your Podiatrist. The toe is anaesthetised so you feel no pain or discomfort. A small part of the offending nail edge is removed, approximately 3-4mm to keep the nail looking regular and healthy. A chemical is applied to destroy the nail growing cells.
This means that this small portion of the nail will no longer grow a new nail. Don’t worry - just like when getting a tooth removed, the skin will close in as it heals after the procedure and your nail will look normal and healthy, with a straight nail edge that is only slightly shorter compared to what it was.
The procedure went smoothly for Shane. We found a significant nail ‘spicule’ in the skin that was causing the problem, as a result of Shane’s tendency to ‘pick’ his nails instead of using nail scissors. After the offending nail edge was removed, the swelling was able to settle and the infection completely cleared. We re-dressed his toe twice over the following week and gave him a take-home dressing pack with clear instructions so he could continue to care for the toe well at home.
We last saw Shane a few weeks ago for his final check where the toe was completely healed and looking great. Shane was easily back to the long hours on his feet with no pain or discomfort and didn’t wince when his little ones stood on his feet at home. We don’t expect Shane to have any more issues with this nail edge in the future - something that both we and Shane are stoked about!
If you’ve been suffering from ingrown toenails and want a permanent solution to keep them gone, come in for a consultation with our expert team here at The Podiatrist. We’re all about offering you the best treatment both now and into the future, so you can perform at your best and realise your full potential.