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Artificial toe with ingrown toenail, England, 1998

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Medical students used this gruesome-looking toe to practice surgical skills. It has an ingrown toenail. This painful condition is known as onychocryptosis. Onychocryptosis is when the toenail, usually of the big toe, grows into the adjacent skin. It causes the toe to become swollen and sore. It often leads to infection. A simple operation removes the nail if it does not respond to treatment. Surgical acid kills the nail root to prevent re-growth. Bristol-based company Limbs & Things Limited began manufacturing 3D synthetic limbs in 1990. This was in response to the rapid growth of small scale surgical operations undertaken by the NHS. Highly realistic models were needed for students and doctors to hone their skills before ever seeing a patient.

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