In-grown toenails can often be solved by palliative treatment to correct the incorrectly cut nail or recent trauma to it. This can usually be done in one appointment and the relief is immediate.
With advice on nail cutting and footwear a recurrence of the ingrown nail can often be avoided.
When this is not the case, nail surgery may be the best option as it will permanently prevent it happening again and therefore no more pain or inconvenience.
Feet Matters offer nail surgery for patients with problematic toenail conditions. This includes ingrowing toenails and toes with damaged, distorted nails.
Nail surgery can provide permanent pain relief for an ingrown toenail and prevent recurrent infections. The procedure involves the removal of the side section of the problem toenail.
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when a piece of nail pierces the flesh at the side of the nail. This causes a lot of inflammation and pain. Ingrown toenails occur most commonly in the big toe. It may feel as if you have a splinter at the side of the toe, can be excruciatingly painful, and in severe cases, the toe might become very red, swollen and infected.
What should I do if I have an ingrown toenail?
If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, make an appointment for assessment and treatment as soon as possible. The longer you leave it the worse it can become and the more chance of it becoming infected.
It is always a good idea to soak the toe in warm salty water for 10 minutes to help keep it clean and prevent infection. This is something you can do right now before any appointment and repeat every few days.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
Often it is possible to treat the condition with careful nail cutting. This is usually the case when it has been caused by incorrect nail cutting in the first place. At our clinic in Dartford, we will cut down the side of the nail and clear the painful section.
If the condition is severe, or keeps re occurring then permanent removal of part of the toenail, may be required.
Simple nail surgery will provide permanent pain relief.
This involves a local anaesthetic injection into the toe. Then the offending side of the nail is removed and phenol acid is applied to prevent that side of the nail growing again thus permanently solving the in-grown nail.
Once healed the nail will be slightly narrower at the side but importantly it will still look like a normal nail.
Practical tips for before and after nail surgery
On the day of your nail surgery appointment, it’s a good idea to wear open shoes to allow for the dressing to be applied to your toes. Please also wear loose-fitting clothing which can be rolled up to the knee.
The local anaesthetic will usually wear off after 2-4 hours and during that time it is important to avoid unnecessary activity. This includes walking and using public transport. You should have someone to drive you home after the procedure. Driving with an anaesthetised toe may make you unfit to drive and it could invalidate your insurance.
In the days following surgery, the wound will likely be tender. Also, there may be some bruising and temporary discharge. You might also have some inflammation and tenderness for a few weeks, but this will settle down.
You will be able to continue life as normal after surgery but avoid any impact to the toe e.g football or getting it excessively wet e.g swimming for a few weeks.