DISCLAIMER: NOT FOR SENSITIVE VIEWERS
When I announced on social media that my toenails had been removed, many assumed it was “Runner’s Toe”, and in fairness, it was an easy assumption to make! Runner’s toe affects many runners as well as rock-climbers, footballers, squash and tennis players. It usually occurs when your toe repeatedly rubs on or slams into your shoe causing stress to your nail. This leads to bleeding under the nail and in bad cases, the toenail may even lift off the nail bed.
However, my issue had little to do with running. I’ve had ingrown toenails for 20+ years with the likely cause being a fungal infection. I’ve survived this long without any real intervention thanks to the magical hands of my husband who has experimented with different “mining” techniques over the years which have brought great relief every few months. But this year I started feeling more uncomfortable and I decided to get them seen to professionally. With nothing on my training schedule, I set up the appointment… on my birthday, you know, to new beginnings and all!
My friend Sonja recommended Dr Mohammed Kadwa from Podiatry Africa who is the only BHPC registered Podiatrist practicing in Botswana. Dr Mohammed was very friendly, had a great sense of humour, and immediately made me feel less self-conscious about the state of my nails. I jokingly asked whether we would have to remove the “offending items”, and well… it turns out this was the best option. So the following day, I was back at the Clinic, with some extra big flip-flops in hand. The bed was decked out with all the utensils for the procedure. My husband pulled up close – no, not for moral support, but to capture it all for the blog! See how much I love you guys?! The toenail ablation started by injecting the local anaesthetic on the sides of both toes. This was the most painful part of the procedure. But I’ve had two babies and I’m a runner so I can take a bit of pain! Dr Mohammed then removed the right nail.
The second toe needed a bit more convincing as I still felt pain when Dr Mohammed tested the area to check if it was numb. After a few more jabs, it was fully numb and the nail removed.
The whole procedure took less than 20 minutes including the bandaging at the end. I felt extremely dizzy afterwards but we later attributed this to the fact that I’d hardly eaten that day and I was not well hydrated. So we immediately drove up to a nearby semausu and I was soon happily tucking into a bag of hot mafresh lovingly seasoned with salt and vinegar. Those chips hit the spot and I would highly recommend them after any surgical experience!
My toes were comfortable for a few hours after the procedure but later that evening I had to take some Ibuprofen. When I went for my first dressing change, Dr Mohammed said everything looked good and healthy. Following this, I did dressing changes at home – briefly soaking them in warm Epsom salt solution, then applying Betadine ointment and finally bandaging them.
It’s Day 9 and they seem to be healing beautifully. It will, of course, take several months for my nails to grow back and I’ll be on anti-fungal medication for the duration of that to ensure a healthy start to my new nails. As with everything in life, there will likely be a few hiccups on this journey, but right now, I feel hopeful and happy that I’ve taken this first step.
What about running? Although it’s been weird not to run, I’m quite grateful for the forced break. So I’ll be patient and focus on other things – some massages and pedicures perhaps?
Have you ever been to a podiatrist? Ever had your toenails removed? Are you a victim of Runner’s Toe? What about ingrown toenails? Spill the gory details!