Ingrown toenail is a condition in which a spike, shoulder, or a serrated edge of the nail has pierced down the side of the nail fold. When this happens, it can lead to inflammation, swelling or accumulation of pus at the side/s of the nail. Hypergranulation (excess tissue growth) can also be seen on the nail folds in severe cases. Most common factors that lead to ingrown toenail are: faulty nail cutting, wearing poor fitting footwear, tearing of the toenails and excessive curvature of the toenails.
If the ingrown toenail is not infected, the nail splinter can be gently removed by one of our Podiatrists. Narrow pointed footwear should be avoided to prevent direct excessive pressure. A suitable antiseptic solution such as Betadine can be used to treat and prevent any infection. If this is a recurrent problem, a nail surgery will be necessary to permanently remove a small part of the nail. Occasionally we may recommend removing the entire toenail to achieve the best result.
Ingrown toenail surgery is a partial nail excision and chemical sterilisation of the nail matrix performed under local anaesthetic. It involves the removal of the ingrown portion of the toenail, together with the corresponding portion of the nail root, and the application of phenol to prevent that portion of the toenail from regrowing. This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and the prognosis is generally very good. We perform ingrown toenail surgery in Peel Podiatry Clinic consultation rooms under sterile conditions. The procedure takes approximately one hour.
If you are taking Aspirin or Warfarin, please check with your Doctor or Pharmacist on whether it’s safe for you to go off them for 1 week before your surgery. This helps to minimise bleeding afterwards.
Our surgical technique for ingrown toenail is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no cutting of the skin and no stitches. This reduces the time it takes the toe to heal and minimises any postoperative pain.
Prior to surgery, we administer a local anaesthetic that numbs your entire toe for one-two hours, so there is no pain during or immediately after the procedure. If there is any discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off, it is usually well managed with paracetamol, rest and elevation of the foot.
In most cases, we only need to remove one edge of the nail. Once the toe is healed the toenail simply looks slightly narrower, and it can be difficult to tell that there has been any surgical correction.
In more severe cases, where the nail is severely deformed and causing pain on both edges of the toe, we may recommend removing the entire toenail to achieve the best result.
Yes, there is a chance an ingrown toenail can grow back after surgical treatment, but this only happens to about 5% of cases. Our Podiatrists are well trained and will take their time to thoroughly cauterise the affected nail to minimise the risk of an ingrown toenail recurring.
Immediately after the procedure you should rest and keep your foot elevated for the rest of the day. You will also need to wear an open-toe shoe for one to two weeks, and avoid high heels and tight-fitting footwear.
Most people recover very quickly from ingrown toenail surgery and are able to return to work or school within a day or two. You should not participate in physical education, sport or swimming for two weeks after the procedure.
If your occupation is in a physically demanding or dirty environment, we suggest you arrange your surgery to coincide with some time off work.
With any surgical procedure there is a risk of developing an infection as the wound heals. It is important that you follow our instructions for cleaning and dressing your toe, and that you keep your toe clean and dry.
We will review your foot regularly after surgery to ensure your toe is healing well. As long as there are no signs of infection (increasing pain, pus, heat, redness or swelling), it is unlikely you will need to take antibiotics.