Can my GP fix my ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are a very common foot condition. This is when the corner or the sides of your nail grows into the surrounding skin. It can be quite painful and needs to be treated. If it’s the first time you’ve encountered an ingrown toenail, you might be unsure of how to proceed. You might be asking yourself, can my General Practitioner or GP fix my ingrown toenail?


What will happen when I see my GP for an ingrown toenail?

Your GP will be able to assess your toe and determine if you have an ingrown toenail. Sometimes if the ingrown toenail is infected they would prescribe you an antibiotic if needed.

When determined that you do in fact have an ingrown toenail, a podiatrist is uniquely qualified to treat it and may refer you to a podiatrist for treatment. You can request a referral from them.

It is important to note, you do not need a referral to see a podiatrist. You can simply book an appointment when you choose. 

What will happen when I see my podiatrist?

Podiatrists have the skills and experience to determine the best course of treatment for your unique case. Podiatry clinics are also equipped with the correct and necessary instruments to successfully treat your ingrown toenail. 

Once you’ve taken the step of booking an appointment, your podiatrist will assess your toe and discuss your treatment options with you on how to safely remove the invading ingrown toenail. These options are: 

ingrown toenail treatment

Conservative Management

Conservative removal of the invading nail piece, which involves your podiatrist carefully reducing the edge of the nail to relieve the pressure. Your podiatrist will also advise you on how to correctly trim your nails to avoid an ingrown from reoccurring.

ingrown toenail surgery

Ingrown Toenail Surgery

Your other option is to have a minor surgical procedure done which is called a partial nail avulsion. This involves removing the invading nail piece under local anaesthesia and applying a solution, called phenol, to prevent the nail from growing in the future. 

Learn more about your treatment options.

How can my podiatrist and GP fix my ingrown toenail together?

If you’ve come straight to a podiatrist and they’ve identified your ingrown toenail is infected, they will likely refer you to your GP. Your GP will treat the infection, while your podiatrist will treat the cause of the infection – your ingrown toenail. If you see your GP first, it will work in a similar way. 

If there is no infection, your podiatrist will solely be able to treat your ingrown toenail.

Contributed by Podiatrist Cherize Vorster

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