When you have something negative or painful in your life, ignoring it not only doesn’t help it get better, it can allow it to get worse. Sometimes you need drastic action to remove the problem. That’s certainly the case for ingrown toenails. There does come a point when conservative treatments can’t help, so the best way to eliminate the problem is through ingrown toenail surgery, like a matrixectomy.
When Nail Surgery Is the Right Step
Mild ingrown toenails can sometimes be treated using noninvasive, conservative methods. These treatments help lift the curving, ingrowing edge of the nail so it grows straight and doesn’t pinch or pierce your skin. Unfortunately, past a certain point, these methods are no longer effective. No matter what you try, the nail continues to curve. In some cases, the nail may pierce the skin and grow increasingly into the toe. Your pain is sharp and you may be at risk for infections, too. The only way to solve the problem is to cut the ingrown edge out.
Basic Removal or Matrixectomy
Ingrown nail surgery is fairly simple. A specialist like Dr. Sanjay Patel will examine your toe to make sure the procedure really is the best option for your foot. Then your toe will be carefully numbed. Depending on how severe the curved edge has grown into your digit, either part or all of your toenail will be removed, leaving your nail bed intact. With a basic nail removal surgery, this provides your nail a chance to regrow, hopefully, straighter than before.
However, re-growing does mean it’s possible for the ingrown edge to come back. If you have a toe that’s particularly prone to curving and pinching, you may need a matrixectomy. This nail procedure does more than just remove the damaged edge—it prevents part or all of the nail from growing back, so it can no longer cause you pain. Once the keratin is removed, the nail matrix, which allows the new nail to grow, is destroyed. Your toe then heals without a toenail, preventing all future ingrown nail pain for that digit.
Whether your ingrown toenail is removed so it can grow back straight or you have a complete matrixectomy, it will take time for your toe to heal. Your toe will be bandaged and you may be advised to rest your foot for a few days. This will mean taking a little time off from sports or other activities that could aggravate your digit. Wear closed-toe shoes that will help protect your foot as well. Keep your foot clean. You may also have medicine to apply to your toe to help prevent infections.
Ingrown toenails are a painful problem that can return repeatedly if you’re not careful. Removing the ingrown edge—and potentially preventing it from growing back—can be the best way to take care of the pain and prevent future problems. Don’t ignore your ingrown nails. Let our specialists with Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC help you keep your toes healthy and pain-free. Contact our Connecticut offices today for more information or to schedule a consultation. Call (203) 876-7736 for our office in Milford, (203) 288-4055 for our office in Hamden, or fill out a contact form on our website to reach us.