Ingrowing Toenails

One of the most common foot disorders is an ingrown toenail. The edge of the nail grows into the skin at the side of the nail, and the area becomes infected. The skin is red and inflamed, and the toe hurts. Pus may form.
Major factors which can cause the problem area are:

  • Tight shoes
  • Tight socks
  • Cutting the nail too short with rounded edges.

Treatment

An ingrown toenail can often be effectively treated by antibiotics, surgical removal of a wedge of nail, avoiding tight shoes and tight socks and avoiding improper cutting of toenail.

A chronic ingrown toenail with recurrent infections may require surgery.

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Surgery

With a wedge resection of the nail, the surgeon removes a strip of nail at the side and a small part of the nail bed. The nail will then grow straight and now grow into the skin.

Usually one edge of the nail is removed. In some cases both left and right edges are removed. To treat severe cases the surgeon may need to remove the whole nail and the complete nail bed.

The surgery is a day-case procedure. It may be performed under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic.

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Post Operation

Post operatively a bulky dressing will be applied to the toe. This should not be removed for 7 days. You will not be able to drive yourself. Please make arrangements for transport home in advance.

Please keep your foot elevated above the level of your heart as much as possible for 72 hours after surgery as this will reduce swelling and bleeding – both of which may increase the risks of local infection.

You need to ensure that you have an appointment at 7-10 days post-op so that the dressings may be reduced and any sutures removed.

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Complications

These include:

  • infection
  • Recurrence of ingrown nails.
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