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Ingrowing Toenails and Nail Surgery

The most common question I am asked in relation to ingrown toenail treatment is “will this hurt?” quickly followed by “will this happen again?”

“Will this hurt?”

Working with painful ingrown toenails for 10 years has taught me that nobody takes this lightly. I have seen grown men shiver anxiously in their seat.
Luckily, there are various treatment options available to suit the requirements or preferences of those suffering from this painful condition. There is also pain management that can be offered in clinic. The use of local anaesthetic on the toe is uncomplicated and should be offered to those concerned about pain.
In my experience, most podiatrists are gentle, but it may help your cause to choose one that is compassionate and empathetic.

“Will this happen again?”

This is a more complex question and it depends on the cause of the ingrown toenail.

  • Was it an acute injury?
  • Was it caused by tight shoes
  • Is the nail too wide or curved?
  • Is the nail deformed?
  • Did sports play a role?

From these questions, we can ascertain if the ingrowing toenail will recur.
In many but not all cases, the toenail needs a more permanent treatment, such as slightly reducing the width or curvature of the nail. This is called “toenail surgery”, “wedge resection” or a “partial nail avulsion”. It is very important that the podiatrist or surgeon is conscious of how the nail will appear afterwards; as removing too large a portion of nail can result in an unattractive nail after healing.
There is also no need for permanent scarring, as the modern techniques call for the use of a caustic cauterising agent rather than an incision.

“Is Nail Surgery painful?”

Most of my clients report that the 24 hours following the surgery is not painful or minimally painful. We do request that the client go home, rest with their feet elevated and be waited on hand and foot (pun intended).

Laura RabjohnsIngrowing Toenails and Nail Surgery