What is an ingrown toenail or ingrowing toenail?

An ingrowing toenail can be caused by several things: if your nails have been damaged, if they have been cut incorrectly – or you may just have a genetic tendency towards developing an ingrown nail.  Some medications (eg. Retinoids) can make you more susceptible to developing an ingrown nail.  You may find that your toe is often painful or infected and you may have tried several courses of antibiotics to manage the condition.

See how to spot if you have an ingorwing toenail here.

Nail Surgery for ingrowing toenail


What is nail surgery?

Nail surgery to deal with an ingrowing toenail is relatively straightforward for a qualified Podiatrist. The nail (or a section of the nail) will be removed under a local anaesthetic.  In most cases a chemical called Phenol will be applied to prevent the problematic portion of nail from re-growing; although non-permanent removal of the nail can be done without using Phenol.


Can I drive to my appointment?

After surgery for your ingrowing toenail, you can drive to us, but it would be better if you can get a friend or relative to bring you to your appointment as you will be unable to drive home after your nail surgery.  We recommend that you go home and rest with your foot elevated for the remainder of the day following your surgery.


Is it painful?

This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, and because the toe is numb you will not feel a thing.  Some patients experience a little discomfort when we put the local anaesthetic in, but this is over very quickly.  Patients generally experience very little pain after the procedure – although it may be a little sore when the anaesthetic wears off.


What is the advantage of this procedure?

Nail surgery can offer a permanent solution to deal with problematic nails.  If the nail is left without treatment it is possible that you will experience frequently recurring infections or painful toenails.  The surgery usually only takes about 10 minutes but we will book your appointment for a 1 hour slot to ensure that we have time to complete the necessary paperwork and to allow time for the local anaesthetic to take effect.


Will it work?

Nail surgery is a very successful procedure.  If you are having a permanent removal of the nail (or portion of the nail) then there is a small chance that the nail can grow back and it may be deformed.  We will discuss the risks and benefits during your pre-operative assessment.


Will I need to take painkillers afterwards?

Most patients do not require any pain relief but once the local anaesthetic wears off you may wish to take your usual painkillers.  We strongly advise against using aspirin as these may encourage excessive bleeding.


Will I need to take time off?

Patients are usually able to attend work the day after treatment, but you must be able to keep your toe protected from dirt and avoid any damage or excessive pressure.  Most people can get back to their regular activities in around 3 weeks but this depends on which procedure you had and how well it has healed.


What do I do about dressings?

Your toe(s) will be dressed after the surgery, these dressing can be quite bulky so it is helpful to bring a loose fitting shoe with you to wear on your journey home.  You will need to keep your initial dressing dry and in place until you return to see the Podiatrist a few days later.


Do I need to come back for another appointment?

We will arrange to see you a few days after your surgery, during this appointment we will remove your initial dressing and redress your toe(s); we also give you more dressings to take home and you will be shown how to care for and re-dress your toe(s) at home.  You can call us at any time to ask any questions or to discuss any concerns you may have.


Call 01282 453 110 to book your appointment today.