This is a very common complaint that we see in our office on a daily basis. The most likely diagnosis from your history seems to be a recurrent Ingrown toenail. This is a condition in which a portion of the nail presses into the flesh, causing pain, redness and sometimes infection. If this condition is left untreated, the flesh along side the nail can become enlarged and painful as well. An ingrown nail occurs for many different reasons. One can be the way the nail was cut to having a fungal infection to having a bone spur under the tip of the nail or trauma. The toe is composed of the nail plate, nail bed and nail matrix. The nail matrix or nail root is where the nail grows from. You can not see this and it is covered by the cuticle. As the nail grows forward it may cut into the skin fold and then bacteria gets seated in the skin forming an abscess. The skin becomes infected and pain then occurs. Most times the nail has to be removed before the infection will resolve. Oral antibiotics will not work unless the nail is removed. There have been many different types of procedures to remove ingrown nails permanently. The earliest removal of an ingrown was reported by a French surgeon named Dr. Quenu in 1887. Since then different techniques have come and gone. The chemical that was utilized to destroy the nail root is called Phenol. This was most likely what was utilized to create the chemical matrixectomy. It is 88% pure and creates a chemical burn. The procedure has a relatively high success rate. The pitfalls are if the phenol is old it becomes inactivated or if it is sparingly applied. If so there will be a recurrence of the ingrown. In 1955 Dr.. Polokoff described the use of galvanic current to create an electrical burn of the nail matrix. There was some success with this method but pain was high after the procedure was performed. In 1976 Carbon Dioxide laser was utilized with better results. The downside to this procedure was the recurrence rate was high. The most recent advance in the permanent removal of ingrown nails comes from a unit called the Ellman Surgitron. It utilizes Radio Waves to permanently remove an ingrown nail. Electric current is converted into controlled energy in the form of Radio Wave Frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. It uses a frequency of 3.8MHz. It is applied for 4 seconds to the nail matrix. The advantage to this procedure is that it sterilizes the area while it is being used and this results in less post operative pain and swelling. Infection rate is also decreased via this method offering a 98% success rate.