What is ingrown toenail bracing?
Ingrown toenail bracing is a revolutionary treatment developed in the 1980’s by the Institute for Orthonyxia in Erlangen, Germany. It works in a similar way to dental braces, using a device named the VHO-Osthold Brace to apply a gentle, sustained corrective force to the ingrown toenail to lift it away from inflamed tissues and set it on course to grow in a healthier direction.
VHO-Osthold ingrown toenail bracing was introduced to Australia by our principal podiatrist, Oliver Fawcett, in 2006.
How is Ingrown toenail bracing performed?
The VHO-Osthold Brace is made from fine, tensioned wire and comprises two tiny levers, which are gently attached to the edge of the nail, and a loop, which bridges the levers and draws them together. The wires are then trimmed and the edges covered with an artificial nail glue to protect footwear. We perform ingrown toenail bracing in our consultation rooms, under sterile conditions. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.
Is ingrown toenail bracing painful?
Ingrown toenail bracing is a painless procedure that requires no anaesthetic, no recovery period and no risk of infection. In most cases, your child will experience immediate relief from the pain caused by the constant pressure of the ingrown toenail on the inflamed skin.
Will my child need to change footwear?
One of the advantages of ingrown toenail bracing is that it helps to prevent constant re-injury when the toe is inside an enclosed shoe. The means that in most cases your child will be able to resume wearing their usual school shoes.
If your child’s school shoes have a narrow or tapered toe-box and this is the main cause of the ingrown toenail, a different style of school shoe will be recommended to prevent the risk of recurrence.
Will my child need time off school?
One of the advantages of ingrown toenail bracing is that it allows the toenail to heal while the toe is weight bearing inside a shoe. This means that in most cases your child will be able to resume their usual activities immediately following the toenail bracing procedure.
Can an ingrown toenail recur after bracing?
The main cause of ingrown toenails in children or adolescents is poor nail cutting techniques and picking or peeling the nail off, so if your child continues with these habits, it is likely the ingrown toenail will recur. We will discuss the best options to prevent recurrence, once we have assessed your child’s ingrown toenail.
Is ingrown toenail bracing a good option for my child?
VHO ingrown toenail bracing is a viable alternative to surgery in children or adolescents with chronic or recurrent ingrown toenails. VHO ingrown toenail bracing offers several advantages in that it:
- requires no anaesthetic, that means no needles;
- requires no recovery period or time off school;
- allows your child to wear their enclosed school shoes;
- allows your child to continue with sports and exercise activities;
- is safe for children;
- offers immediate relief from pain in most cases.
If your child is involved in kicking sports (eg: football, martial arts), it is likely that the ingrown nail brace will not be a suitable option and you should discuss this with our podiatrists.
To find out if ingrown toenail bracing is an option for your child, contact us.