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After Partial Matricectomy

Painful Ingrown Toenails

Onychocryptosis, what is that?! Those pesky ingrown nails is what it is. This is a common problem we see in our office almost daily. It can affect any age from children all the way to our older aunties and uncles. Some people are more prone to ingrown nails due to the shape of the nails or nail fungus or sometimes the cause is cutting the nail incorrectly or tight shoes. Most patients who come in to see us have tried to solve the problem on their own by trimming back the nail corner, sticking cotton under the nail, soaking the foot but sometimes these things can actually make the problem worse or cause an infection of the toe. Generally, we do not recommend doing what we call “bathroom surgery” on yourself.

I will walk you thru the process. When you come into our office, we will assess the problem and decide whether a quick cutting of the nail corner that is impinging the skin will solve the problem or if a nail procedure needs to be done.  Usually if this is a reoccurring problem a nail procedure called a partial matricectomy is recommended because it will prevent the ingrowing nail border from ever growing back!   

Prior to starting a nail procedure your toe first needs to numb which is usually the only painful part of the procedure. Injections to the toe does not sound fun but we try our absolute best to help it be as pain free as possible. We will put your chair back to make you more comfortable, use “cold spray” to numb the skin before the injection is given.. Next, the toe is cleaned, and a tourniquet is wrapped around the toe to prevent any bleeding. Each podiatrist has a slightly different technique when it comes to removing an offending nail border, but the principal is the same, free up the nail edge, cut all the way back to the root of the nail, and remove it. Next, we use a chemical called phenol to burn the root of the nail to prevent that side of the nail from growing back. The whole procedure starting with numbing the toe ending with dressing the toe takes about 15-20 minutes.  

Now it is your turn to help heal your toe during the aftercare. Generally, the dressing that is put on in the doctor’s office should stay in place until the end of the day or overnight. Upon removal of the dressing either soak the toe in Epsom salts or lightly scrub the toe with clean soapy water and cloth/gauze. Then dry off the toe and apply an antibiotic ointment and a band-aid. Do this daily for 1-2 weeks until drainage stops.  We will see you back in clinic or do a televisit follow up to check the healing progress and look for any signs of infection.  

And that’s it, you survived your ingrown nail and now can get back to normal life without worrying about which shoe will aggravate your ingrown or how to cut your nail the next time it grows out to prevent it from hurting.  We recommend you come see us as soon as you notice your nail causing you pain so we can prevent infection and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Aloha Foot Centers

Infected toenail

Clipping the Corner

Incurvated ingrown toenail