Congratulations!! You Are Now a Bathroom Surgeon!

Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions that I see in my Houston, TX podiatry office near the Galleria area. I'll be so bold as to say that all podiatrists see their fair share of them. It is also the most common foot condition that I see in kids. They occur when the toenail is too wide for the nail bed. This alone isn't usually painful. That happens when the owners of these feet take it upon themselves to dig out the nail that they feel is just in reach. Welcome to the medical specialty of "bathroom surgery."

Ah, yes...bathroom surgery. No big deal, these operators insist, I'll just dig out the corner. What? No, my toe always bleed when I trim them. Isn't that normal. Huh? Doesn't happen to you? Hmmm...you must be doing something wrong. But what's the telltale sign of a bathroom surgeon? When their spouse/child/pet steps on their foot and they fall down in tears!

It's true...when you have an infected ingrown toenail it seems as if a big target is then painted on your foot. Everything WILL hit it! It's one of Murphy's most reliable laws. I'd like to offer some compelling reasons to retire from the not-very-lucrative specialty that you have chosen.

Most bathroom surgeons know that their success rate isn't so good. Your operation may temporarily help the pain, but how long does it stay gone? Not very long! Within a month you're back at it again? If you had your appendix out and it kept growing back every month and you nnede to have it out again and again (without anesthesia), would you be happy?

I think not! When patients come into the office with an ingrown toenail, I'll offer a recommendation about what needs to be done. If the toe is infected, our choices are limited. Next, we'll make sure the toe is good and numb before we proceed with any procedure. The procedure will be painless, but I'll be honest that the numbing requires an injection which is uncomfortable. Once the toe is numb, the procedure generally takes under 5 minutes with little bleeding. You'll leave, usually in the same shoes you came in, with a bandage on your toe.
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