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Unit 3, Wilmington Cl, Watford WD18 0AF

MACS Plastic Surgery

Ingrown toe nail treatment
Mr. Shailesh Vadodaria,

Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Ingrown toe nail treatment
Mr. Mumtaz Hussain,

Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Tel: 07792648726
Ingrown toe nail treatment

Ingrown toe nail treatment

Ingrown toe nail treatment

An ingrown toenail develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. The big toe is most commonly affected either on one or both the sides. The nail curls and pierces the skin which usually becomes red, swollen and tender.


  • Painful on applying pressure
  • Inflammation of the skin at the end of the toe
  • Oedema in the area surrounding the toe
  • Hypertrophy – overgrowth of skin around the affected toe
  • Bleeding from the affected area
  • Pus (white or yellow) coming from the affected area
  • What causes ingrown toenails?

There are a number of things which can cause an ingrown toenail to develop, including:

  • Badly cut toenails – Cutting your toenails too short, or cutting the edges can cause the skin to fold over your nail and the nail to grow into the skin
  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights – This can cause pressure on the skin around your toenail. The skin may get pierced if it’s pressed on to your toenail
  • Sweaty feet
  • Injury
  • A fungal nail infection can cause your toenail to thicken or widen.

Treating ingrown toenails

If ingrown toenail is left untreated it can become infected. It is very important to:

  • Keep feet’s clean by washing them regularly with soap and water
  • Changing your socks regularly
  • Cutting your toenails straight across to stop them digging into the surrounding skin
  • Wearing comfortable shoes

Surgery is required if the toenail doesn’t improve. Surgery may involve removing part or all of your toenail depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Partial nail avulsion

Partial nail avulsion involves removing part of the toenail and is most commonly used operation for treating ingrown toenails. It’s about 98% effective.

A local anaesthetic is used to numb the toe and the edges of toenail are cut away. A course of antibiotics may be prescribed if your nail is infected, and any pus will be drained away.

Total nail avulsion

Total nail avulsion involves removing the toenail completely. This may be required if the nail is thick and pressing into the skin surrounding of toe.

After surgery

Toenail will be wrapped in a sterile bandage after the surgery. This will help to prevent infection. It is important to rest your foot and keep it raised for 1 to 2 days after the operation.

A painkiller such as paracetamol may be prescribed to help reduce the pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the possible complications of surgery?


• Infection: any operation can be followed by infection which can be treated with antibiotics.
• Pain: ongoing discomfort is rare, but possible, following any surgery.
• Loss of function: you will have a temporary loss of function and things will be a little more difficult to do following surgery while the dressings are in place. In rare cases there may be a permanent loss of function.

Q: What should I look out for at home after surgery?


a. Antibiotic ointment will be applied to the toe immediately after the procedure. The ointment is soothing and helps the toe to heal faster. You should apply the antibiotic ointment twice daily until the wound is completely healed.
b. You may shower the day after the surgery. Gently dry the area and apply antibiotic ointment after showering. Avoid baths, swimming, or soaking the toe for the next 2 weeks. Try to keep the toe clean and dry.
c. Your bandage will help to pad and protect the wound, while absorbing drainage from the wound. You can replace the bandage if blood or fluid soaks the bandage. Please keep the wound bandaged for at least 1 week after the surgery.
d. You may experience some pain after the procedure. If you do not have allergies, you can take ibuprofen, three 200-mg tablets 3 times a day with food, and paracetamol, two 325-500mg tablets every 4 hours.
e. You should wear loose-fitting shoes or sneakers for the first 2 weeks after the procedure. Please avoid wearing high-heeled or tight-fitting shoes in the future. You should avoid running, jumping, or strenuous activity for 2 weeks after the surgery. Teenagers should not participate in physical education activities for 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure.
f. Infection may develop in the toe during the first few weeks after the surgery. Call your doctor if you develop increasing pain, swelling, redness, or drainage from the toe.
g. Trimming the nails straight across the top of the nail is the best way to prevent another ingrown nail from developing. The nail must not be cut down into the corners, or picked at, or torn off. If you should develop another ingrown nail, see your doctor early, because early treatment may prevent the need for surgery.

Preventing ingrown toenails

It is necessary to take care of feet’s to prevent foot problems such as ingrown toe nail. It is necessary to cut nails properly (straight across and not at an angle or down the edges). It is important to wash your feet regularly every day and dry them thoroughly and use a foot moisturiser.

Use shoes that fit you properly and which will help to ensure that your feet remain healthy.

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