Ingrown toenails are a common reason for people to see a podiatrist, this is because they can be very painful and normally do not resolve without removal of the offending jagged toenail edge.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when a spicule at the edge of the toenail pierces adjacent skin allowing an entry-point for bacterial infection.


Depending on the severity or frequency ingrown toenails can be treated conservatively or, when necessary, permanently.

Conservative treatment is used for milder cases. The podiatrist will gently remove the toenail spike and smooth the edge off with specialised tools. Advice is also given on preventative measures.

If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem or severe, a permanent procedure can be performed.

Partial Nail Avulsion (with chemical matrixectomy)

Podiatrists are specially trained to permanently remove ingrown toenails without dramatically changing the visual appearance of the toenail.

A Partial Nail Avulsion with chemical matrixectomy procedure can be safely performed in a clinic-setting under local anaesthetic. The benefits of this particular procedure are that it is minimally invasive (does not require cutting of the skin or stitches), minimal pain afterwards and it results in a ‘normal looking’ pain-free toenail.

The Procedure

The procedure takes no longer than one hour. A local anaesthetic injection is given to numb the toe prior to the procedure. Up to 4mm of visible toenail is removed from the edge resulting in a narrower toenail. A chemical called phenol is used to cauterise the nail root to prevent regrowth.

You will be able to walk out straight after the procedure, but we do recommend wearing open-toed shoes so that there is no pressure on the dressing and that you have somebody drive you home. It is best to rest with your foot elevated for the remainder of the day.

If you have any questions about permanent ingrown toenail removal or would like to book an initial assessment phone the clinic on 02 6771 9142 or book online.

Prior to scheduling this procedure an assessment is required to check your ingrown toenail and discuss any factors that may affect your suitability for the procedure.