Ingrown toenail FAQ

What is an ingrown toenail, and what are the symptoms?

Ingrown toenails are a condition in which the corner or side of your nail grows into soft tissue. The result can be pain, inflamed skin and swelling. Sometimes an infection will develop if treatment isn't sought out quickly enough.

When is surgery necessary for an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails in the early stage are treated with antiseptics, salt baths and trimming of the nail; however, in some cases, surgery may be necessary.

If initial treatment does not improve the condition after a week, or if the pain is severe, it is essential to see a podiatrist for an evaluation. Surgery is typically recommended if the toe becomes infected or repeated attempts at-home treatment have failed. The goal of surgery is to remove the portion of the nail that is ingrown and to prevent the nail from growing back in. In most cases, surgery can be performed in the clinic using local anesthesia. Early professional care and treatment can usually resolve an ingrown toenail without surgery. However, an ingrown toenail can lead to complications such as infection or permanent damage to the toe if left untreated.

How is surgery performed for an ingrown toenail?

Surgical removal of an ingrown nail is a procedure that can be performed to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition. The surgery involves removing a small portion of the side of the nail and Cauterization of the nail bed to prevent regrowth. This helps to create a new, straight edge for the nail and prevents the cells underneath from growing a new nail. The toe is injected with a numbing medicine before the surgery, and patients typically experience some mild discomfort and soreness afterwards. Recovery times vary depending on the individual but are generally a few weeks. Overall, surgical removal of an ingrown nail is a safe and effective way to treat the condition.

What are the risks associated with surgery for an ingrown toenail?

As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. The most common complications are postoperative pain and infection. In rare cases, part of the removed nail may regrow. To reduce the risk of complications, it is essential to follow all postoperative instructions your podiatrist gives.

How can you prevent an ingrown toenail from developing?

Proper trimming of the nails is the best way to prevent an ingrown nail. Nails should be cut straight across, with the corners of the nail protruding from the end of the toe. Children or teenagers who play with their toes at night can wear socks to bed to keep them from peeling or picking at their toenails.

What should you do if you have an ingrown toenail?

Seeking professional treatment with a podiatrist early on is the most effective way to prevent the condition from worsening. While waiting for an appointment, soaking the infected toe in warm salty water twice a day and applying antiseptic, such as betadine, helps reduce infection. In addition, avoiding tight-fitting shoes and keeping the affected area clean and dry can help prevent further irritation. If you suspect that you may have a foot infection, don't hesitate to contact a podiatrist for advice. With prompt treatment, you can help to prevent the condition from progressing and causing further discomfort.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with ingrown toenails, it is best to book an appointment and see a podiatrist. In some cases, home treatment may seem like the better option, but this can do more damage in the long run. Minor surgery performed at our clinic will address the problem and help prevent future ingrown toenails from developing.

Mr James Ferrie
B. Pod. (La Trobe); Mem. A. Pod. A
Principal Practitioner / Founder of My Sports Podiatrist