Our customer had a painful hangnail and had gone to a podiatrist for help. The podiatrist could perform surgery, but the options were limited and drastic. Most solutions involve removal of a significant portion of the nail which changes the appearance of the nail as well as eliminates the protective functionality. In addition, the hangnail can grow back.
Our customer came to us with an idea for a novel approach that could be used as either a surgical or non-surgical solution depending on when it is applied to the offending nail. Caught early, it could be installed quickly and without surgery to eliminate the point of pain and prevent further growth under the skin. If the nail has grown in further, a surgical solution would remove only a small portion of the nail, install a protective layer over the exposed area, and prevent the nail from growing back under the skin. We explored some potential solutions with the customer and fabricated functional prototypes for evaluation of the idea.