Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the care of the foot. This care includes the toenails and the treatments and techniques used to keep the nails in great condition. In some cases, a podiatrist will need to actually remove a portion or the entirety of a single nail. Keep reading to learn when this is necessary and how your podiatrist will complete the procedure.
An ingrown toenail is an ailment involving the overgrowth of one of the toenails. It typically involves the big toe and the growth causes soft tissue damage as the nail grows into the skin along the side of the nail. While the problem may seem simply annoying and a bit painful, it can lead to an infection. Avoiding an infection is one reason why your podiatrist may suggest ingrown toenail removal if more conservative treatments fail. This is especially true if you have a condition like diabetes that leaves you susceptible to dangerous and poorly healing open foot wounds.
The entirety of your toenail does not need to be removed if you have an ingrown nail. Only a small sliver is surgically removed and involves the side of the nail where the ingrown area is noted. This is called a wedge resection and the sliver is cut vertically down to the nail bed. In some cases, the soft tissues along the edge of the nail may be modified or reshaped to help prevent a recurrence.
If your toenail continues to grow into the skin after the surgical removal, then your podiatrist may decide to remove the nail bed in the area. This will entirely prevent growth of the nail in the area.
Fungal infections of the toenail are extremely difficult to get rid of. Many people will use topical agents and oral antifungal medications with little effect. Sometimes, the infections will return continuously over the course of years. When the infections are too difficult to control and cause pain and the potential spread to the other nails, your podiatrist may suggest the removal of the infected toenail.
The removal process will depend on how much of an infection is noted. Typically, only the infected area is removed, so this may mean a one-quarter, one-half, or total nail removal. The nail is also removed from the tissue underneath. If the problem is serious enough, your podiatrist can also destroy the matrix to keep the nail from growing back. In this situation, the area will heal and you will have a toe with skin in the area where the toenail was present.
For more information, you may want to contact a podiatrist in your area.
Walking is simple, right? You just put one foot in front of the other. This can be harder than it sounds if your feet are sore or plagued by ailments like bunions, hammertoe, or plantar fasciitis. If you've ever struggled to simply put one foot in front of the other, you're familiar with this unique pain and frustration. Thankfully, podiatrists have solutions for most common foot ailments. In the articles we've collected here, you can learn all about those solutions, and also about podiatrists in general. We hope that by being more informed, you can take a more preventative approach to foot care also also know what to expect when you seek treatment.