Nail bracing is a gentle alternative to nail surgery of painful ingrown or involuted (excessively curved) toenails. Smooth wires are attached to a brace which is glued to the nail. This repositions the nail into a more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing position.
The nail brace acts to elevate the nail plate and unload the pressure on the underlying skin. This allows the skin to recover and to be able to accept the pressure of the nail once more. Bracing unwinds the excessive curvature of the toenail to prevent the reoccurrence of ingrown toenails.
Total nail replacement takes 12-18 months. Treatment duration should be 6 to 12 months; slow nail growth indicates an 18 month plan. 4-6 weekly appointments are required until the desired nail shape is achieved, this may only take a few months, thereafter, a retainer brace is applied to hold this position until it grows out.
Nail polish may be applied to this retainer brace. A podiatrist can provide individualised treatment duration based on the characteristics of your nail.
What are the benefits of Nail Bracing Verses Surgery?
- No local anesthetic needed
- Immediate relief
- No restrictions to everyday life
- No wound healing required, safer for people with delayed healing
- No possibility of a nail spike that is separate to the nail regrowing
- No time off school or work if consultations are outside working hours
- Normal nail aesthetic
- Surgery can weaken the nail
How Long Do Nail Bracing Results Last?
Depending on the history and condition of the nail, nail bracing can be a very effective, long term conservative treatment. If the cause of the abnormal nail shape is resolved, the likelihood of nail recurvative is low. If the cause of the abnormal nail shape continues, the likelihood of the nail recurvative is high.
It is important to address the causes highlighted to you by your podiatrist. In some circumstances, the only cause is previous trauma and the nail has grown excessively curved since; the nail is likely to respond well to nail bracing.
In some instances, tight shoes ‘squeeze’ the nail into a curved position, failure to changes this footwear preference will mean non-effective long term resulted. It should be noted that a second treatment process may be required at a later stage should the toe be reinjured and thus become impacted again, or, if it is traumatised by ill fitting shoes.