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Ingrown toenails and treatment

Ingrown nails are a common problem in society. Shoes that are not suitable for the foot structure, pregnancy, the development of the nail in the rapid growth phase in adolescence compared to the finger, some formations in the bone structure under the nail are the main reasons for ingrown nails. Excessive sweating may cause the nail to soften and become embedded in the nail side wall, resulting in ingrown nail (buried nail) nail deformity. Incorrect nail cutting can also result in ingrown nails (buried nails).

In the early stage of ingrown nails (Stage I), pain is felt along the lateral edge of the nail. Later, the pain is accompanied by redness (Stage II). In the third stage, swelling increases and granulation tissue develops. And finally, in the fourth stage, the nail fold becomes infected and becomes watery. Although conservative measures may be sufficient in the early stage, advanced stages of ingrown toenails should be evaluated by a physician.

In recent years, we have seen that an increasing number of patients with ingrown toenails are being treated in pedicure salons and foot health centers. However, ingrown nails is definitely a medical problem and should be treated by physicians. Because the infection caused by ingrown toenails can cause discomfort up to gangrene in people with foot circulation disorder and diabetics.

The correct treatment method is not only the removal of the entire nail with ingrown nails. The extracted nail removes the patient’s pain complaints for a while. However, after 6-12 months, when the nail grows and reaches its old dimensions, stinging will begin again. Correct ingrown nail treatment is done with methods that narrow the nail or widen the nail bed.

In the early period, improvement can be observed with the application of cotton to the ingrown nail part in mild lesions, filing the middle part of the nail in thick nails, nail wire applications, treatment if fungus is present, and avoidance of trauma.

In advanced stages and stubborn cases, according to studies performed abroad and by our clinic.

The most successful results were obtained with the application of a substance called phenol (phenolization) in order to partially remove the ingrown part of the nail and its bed under it, and to prevent the formation called the matrix, which produces the ingrown nail part, in the future.

( Proximo-Lateral Matrix Partial Excision and Matrix Phenolization for Treatment Ingrown Toe Nail: 225 Treated Patients and 24-Month Follow-Up. Karaca Nezih , Dereli Tugrul. Ann Fam Med. epub).

This operation takes an average of 15 minutes for an ingrown single nail and is performed under local anesthesia. It is recommended to rest at home after the procedure. Ingrown nail is a recurring condition and the most important feature of this method is that it provides a permanent solution.

In a study conducted in Michigan, USA, on 69 pediatric patients and published in 2005 (J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Jan;40(1):290-2.), simple excision technique and phenolization method were compared. In this study, after long-term follow-up, the recurrence rate was 45% in the simple excision group, while the recurrence rate was 4% in the phenolization group.


To summarize the advantages of ingrown toenail treatment with phenol:

1- It is a very short intervention. takes up to 15 minutes

2- There is almost no feeling of pain after the procedure.

3-The risk of infection after the application is very low. Because the phenol substance used is also a strong antiseptic.

4-Recurrence risk of ingrown nails is less than 5%.

All these advantages make the treatment of ingrown nails with the phenolization technique superior to other methods in stubborn cases and advanced ingrowns.

exp. Dr. Nezih KARACA