Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Ingrowing toenails: an evaluation of two treatments.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 26 September 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:821
  1. P F Cameron


    Most of the procedures used for treating ingrowing toenails cause considerable discomfort and have high failure rates. This study evaluated two methods of treatment: (a) a simple procedure, and (b) angular phenolisation. Patients were seen in a special toenail clinic and were assessed for severity and duration of symptoms. Those with no permanent deformity of the nail fold and with only minor infection were treated by the simple procedure. The nail was nicked and torn down to expose the infected nail fold. The patients were then taught to clean the area, spray it with povidone-iodine dry powder, and pack the nail fold with a twist of cotton-wool. Patients with recurrent or severe ingrowing toenails were treated by angular phenolisation. One hundred patients were treated by the simple procedure and 61 of these had had no recurrence after six months. A total of 280 phenolisations were carried out over 18 months and 272 were successful. The treatments described are simple, effective, and well tolerated and should be considered as alternatives to traditional treatment.