What has gone wrong?
Ingrowing toenails press into the skin on one or both sides of the nail. This is because an ingrowing toenail is more curved from side to side, than usual. This “ingrowing” damages the skin folds and infection takes hold, causing pain and swelling. The infection can come and go for months or years.
A similar infection can occur if you tear a normal nail or if you injure or damage the skin folds with tight footwear. It can also happen if you have poor circulation to your toes.
A thickened nail has a different cause. It is caused by damage to the nail bed, which the nail grows from. This is usually caused by a long-term infection with athlete’s foot fungus. The damage is usually permanent and gets steadily worse.
Very rarely, usually in adults, the cause is an overgrowth of bone or a tumour of the skin under the nail.
We aim to remove your abnormal nail and usually the nail bed too. If we only remove the nail, an abnormal nail will grow from the nail bed again. The way we do this operation depends on the problem.
- Ingrowing toenail - We need only remove narrow strips of nail bed near the skin folds.
- Thickened nail - We need to surgically remove the whole of the nail bed with the help of chemicals.
- Bone overgrowth - We remove the nail and shave the bone smooth again.
- Tumour - We remove both the nail and the tumour. We send the tumour for examination under the microscope.