Following on from last month’s article introducing the various costs associated with health problems, I thought I would start with something apparently relatively simple – ingrowing toenails. However, they can be far from simple. In my days as NHS Diabetic Foot Specialist, I was involved in the case of a man who developed gangrene from his ingrowing toenail and ultimately died. Until he presented to me in the hospital with gangrene, he had not once been referred to a chiropodist or podiatrist to address the original problem. Instead, nine months of GP care with multiple courses of antibiotics had been tried. Unfortunately, all these years later, I still see patients with similar treatment plans that have failed to resolve their problems. The record I have experienced is a patient who presented at my clinic after having had 11 courses of antibiotics! It is so unnecessary, and he was cured the same day he attended treatment with me. The reason for this is simple, though – ingrowing toenails won’t heal properly whilst the nail edge continues to rub or impinge on the flesh. All it takes is removing that nail edge and then treating any associated infection, and the problem is sorted, at least until the nail edge grows back. However, there are surgical solutions to stop this from happening.
So let’s look at the costs involved with having an ingrown toenail:
Physical costs – Ingrowing toenails can hurt. A lot! At the very least, they impact on footwear choices. More so, they impede activities we may enjoy: walking, running, playing sports etc. Treatment of any infection can affect us as well, though. Repeated courses of antibiotics can lead to a a higher chance of developing resistance to antibiotics and the chance of affecting the good bacteria in our digestive system.
Emotional costs – Being in pain when we put on shoes, or the pain of lying in bed with the weight of the duvet on our toes, as often occurs with ingrowing toenails, can have a draining effect on our wellbeing. The throbbing, burning, and sometimes intensely sharp pain will go on and on if left untreated. The appearance of a bleeding or bandaged toe can make us feel self-conscious, and the smell when it is infected can affect us and those around us.
Financial costs – The financial costs of not correctly treating an ingrown toenail can very quickly add up. Whether it be from recurrent trips to the GP clinic, the repeated costs of antibiotics and other home remedies that tend not to work, the expense of replacing footwear that has been affected by wound seepage from an ingrown toenail or the potential loss of earnings from being unable to walk or concentrate properly due to pain, an ingrown toenail could cost a hefty sum of money.
But how much does it cost to have an ingrown toenail professionally treated by a highly trained podiatrist? How much does a total or partial nail avulsion surgery cost? The answer is less than the repeated cost of incorrect treatment.
If you don’t mind waiting and dealing with the pain before you satisfy the current NHS criteria for access to podiatry, then you could have it treated for free. However, this is only free at the point of delivery; we still have to pay for the NHS through taxes and national insurance contributions. Or privately, you could see a foot health practitioner for mild cases and pay approximately £20-£40 for a solution that may only last a few weeks.
A podiatrist may be able to offer you a long-lasting solution and supply antibiotics if necessary to kill any form of infection at the cost of around £40 – £100, depending on the treatment. A highly trained podiatrist like myself can also offer you a permanent solution for ingrowing toenails in the form of nail avulsion or nail surgery. This cost could be from £250 to £500, irrespective of how bad the ingrowing toenail is.
The important thing to consider when treating an ingrown toenail is that whatever treatment you undertake must have a high success rate in order to avoid further damage to the nail or foot, prevent pain and more physical, emotional and financial costs for you in the future for you.
Please don’t just take our word that we can resolve ingrowing toenails – here are some reviews from very satisfied patients:
“Jonathan Small and his team have been excellent. A person centred, straight forward approach and really genuine team. I had been told by NHS and other podiatrists that the healing after ingrowing toe nail would take up to 12 weeks yet after the surgery at Health First Foot, it has completely healed in just over 3 weeks. Going privately was one of the best investments I’ve made. Thank you Health First!” – N.J., Chipping Norton
“I cannot praise highly enough in this post the warm welcome, professionalism, attention to detail, in-depth assessment and subsequent intervention at this practice. The nail surgery I had yesterday was painless. Thank you very much.” – J.H., Tysoe
“A 1st class level of support from beginning to end by Jonathan and his team in resolving my son’s infected ingrowing toe nail……….I cannot recommend Health First enough, and have now booked myself in for an appointment to resolve a problem toe that I have put with for 25 years!” – A happy father
“After months of suffering with ingrown toenails, I went to see Jonathan Small who was kind, professional and gentle. He performed the nail surgery on the same day as assessment so I could begin the road to recovery. I would recommend health first to anyone with foot problems.” -N.R., Coventry
“Couldn’t be more thankful for the quick and friendly service. I needed help fast (I couldn’t wait 2-3 months for nail surgery on the NHS) and Jonathan sorted me out just three days after I phoned to enquire. I felt very confident and relaxed in Health First. Thank you all!” A.D., Banbury