Ingrown Toenail Surgery | All You Need to Know About it

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is when part of the toenail has broken or pierced the surrounding skin.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

They are often caused by malcutting, leaving a shard down the side of the nail. Sometimes, the nail shape and tight shoes can exacerbate things.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Pain is usually the first thing that people notice, and this is then often followed by inflammation, reddening, and pus if infected.

How serious is an ingrown toenail?

Treating ingrown toenails should be quickly as once they develop, they often do not settle on their own. The pressure of the nail on the skin and direction that the nail grows often complicates healing. The longer the wound is open the higher the chance of infection. If infections are left, this can spread further into the body.

Ingrown nail treatment

There are two main options to consider. If it is a mild and one off occasion caused by a spike of nail, these can often be cut back carefully to resolve the issue. In other cases where this is not possible, a section of the nail can be cut back to the nail root. This makes the nail narrower to take pressure from the skin. A chemical can be applied to this section of nail root to stop it from growing back permanently (allowing the remainder of the nail to continue to grow).

Infected ingrown toenail treatment

If the nail is infected, the most appropriate procedure can be carried out, and a course of antibiotics can be given to resolve the infection.

Ingrown toenail surgery

The procedure is very simple and can be carried out in the clinic environment. A local anaesthetic injection is delivered to either side of the toe which takes away pain sensation. The affected side of the nail can then be cut back straight to the root and a chemical applied to stop this section growing back again. This method requires the toe to be bathed in warm salty water for 5 minutes and redressed daily for 2-3 weeks.

In a small number of cases if the chemical is not effective or this procedure is not suitable, the section of nail root can be surgically removed and closed with sutures.