If you keep having problems with ingrown toenails, your podiatrist might eventually recommend surgery to remove all or part of the nail. You can often manage an ingrown nail on your own, but if it's infected, very painful, or keeps coming back, talk to a podiatrist about treatments needed to help your toe heal. Here's a look at what to expect if your podiatrist thinks surgery is right for you.
The Surgery Is Done In The Podiatrist's Clinic
Toenail removal surgery is done as an outpatient with a local anesthetic injected in your toe. Your podiatrist might also provide medication to help you relax if you're nervous about the procedure.
You probably won't need crutches after the surgery, but you'll need to take comfortable shoes along that have open toes since your toe will be bandaged when you leave the clinic.
Part Or All Of Your Nail Is Removed
The podiatrist has different options for ingrown toenail surgery. The approach taken depends on whether you have ingrown nails on both sides of your toe, your history with ingrown nails, and if you have a condition, such as diabetes, that increases your risk of complications from an ingrown nail.
The podiatrist might remove the side of the nail near the ingrown area or the entire nail may be removed. The nailbed may also be removed to slow down future growth of the nail.
Recovery Is Usually Fast
You'll have some pain after surgery, but you should be able to manage it with over-the-counter medications. Your podiatrist may advise you to keep your foot elevated for at least a day after the surgery to control bleeding and swelling.
You might be able to remove the bandage the next day and apply antibiotic ointment to your toe. However, your exact recovery instructions will depend on the type of nail-removal surgery you have done.
You'll need to wear shoes that don't press against your toe for several days and limit sports activities until your podiatrist clears you for normal activities and wearing your usual shoes.
Your Nail May Not Grow Back
Your nail may grow back slowly after you have the surgery, but in some cases, your nail might not return. It's possible you'll have another ingrown nail when the nail grows back, but your podiatrist can advise you on steps to take to reduce your risk of another ingrown nail.
This includes wearing shoes that fit without being tight and trimming your toenails properly. When you've had ingrown nails and know how painful and annoying they are, you're probably willing to change your shoes and do what it takes to keep from having another one if possible.
For more information on ingrown toenail treatment, reach out to a local podiatrist.