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All You Need to Know About Ingrown Toenail Surgery

Arrgh! You can't take it anymore! That throbbing has got to stop!

We speak from experience here—ingrown toenails are a deeply unpleasant condition. But unfortunately, many people who struggle with them don't really know where to turn.

Suffer in silence? Hope it goes away? Not really an option anymore, especially if you've been in pain for a while.

But ingrown toenail surgery? Is that really necessary?

Blog graphic for ingrown toenails

It's Not the Only Way to Deal with an Ingrown Toenail ...

If your ingrown nail is relatively minor, there's no infection, and you don't have a history of ingrown toenails, you may choose to try home care first.

Start by giving yourself a nice, relaxing foot soak to soften up your feet. Once you've done that, you may be able to gently lift the ingrown nail up and away from the skin using a clean piece of dental floss, then "splint" it with clean cotton. Apply an antibiotic cream and loosely bandage the toe. Repeat the process at least once per day.

With any luck, this should help you reverse a minor ingrown toenail. However, keep a close eye on the problem. If pain increases, or you notice any signs of infection—or the treatment just plain doesn't work—it's time to take the next step.

... However, It's Generally the Best Option

While home remedies can work for a minor ingrown toenail, generally speaking most cases will warrant a surgical intervention. It's quicker, safer, and offers far lower odds of recurrence.

The Process is a Quick One

Ingrown toenail removal is a very simple procedure that shouldn't take much of your time. In fact, we are often able to perform it right in our office during your initial checkup appointment. Even if we do have to schedule a new appointment, it's not going to cost you a whole day (or even whole afternoon). We should be able to get you in and out in a very reasonable timeframe.

When we're done, you can walk straight out of the office, just like that. We do generally recommend you get someone to drive you home since your ability to feel the pedals may be affected by the anesthesia.

There Should Be Little (if Any Pain)

A local anesthetic will numb up your toe for about 2 to 4 hours—more than enough time to do the work and send you on your way. There's no reason to use general anesthesia.

Once the anesthesia wears off, you might feel some throbbing or minor discomfort due to the tightness of the bandage. However, significant pain after the procedure is fairly rare, and can be managed successfully with medication. (Generally, you will not need prescription medication for an ingrown toenail surgery, unless an antibiotic is required to deal with an infection.)

If you're still not convinced, understand that we perform this procedure regularly on very small children, and even they generally tolerate it extremely well. So you have nothing to worry about!

We Can Provide Permanent Relief for Chronically Recurring Nails

We'll start with some context here. There are actually two separate procedures we usually perform when treating an ingrown toenail. Only the first one is mandatory, but we often recommend both.

The first procedure is the toenail removal, and it's about what you'd expect. Just a quick trim and extraction of the ingrown corner or edge.

The second procedure removes a portion of the nail matrix (also called the nail bed) at the base of the nail along the edge with recurring ingrown nail problems. Without the nail matrix, you won't be able to grow new nail, which means you shouldn't have any more problems (at least on that side of that toe).

Remember that we're only removing a small portion of the nail bed, so it's not like your whole nail will be missing. It should still look fairly natural.

If you have chronic ingrown toenails, or we have reason to believe that the cause is genetic, this second procedure is strongly recommended.

Ingrown toenail surgery procedure

You Should Be Able to Return Quickly to Your Regular Activities

Like we said, you should be able to walk right out of our office, and drive safely as soon as the anesthesia wears off.

For the rest of the day, do try to "go easy" on yourself. Give yourself permission to sit on the couch and watch some TV or play a board game. Prop your feet up. Take an ibuprofen (or other anti-inflammatory) if you need to. And go to bed on time.

Most people are back to their "ordinary" day to day activities within 24 hours. You can go to school, go to work, work around the house, do some light exercises, etc. You still might way to avoid more strenuous physical activity for a couple of days or weeks—we'll give you an idea of the timeline during your appointment.

Full healing from an ingrown toenail surgery takes about 2-4 weeks.

You Have Nothing to Gain by Waiting to Act!

Ingrown toenails hurt. They probably aren't going to go away on their own. And the longer you do nothing about them, the more likely you'll develop an infection. That can be extremely dangerous, especially if you have diabetes.

So opt for the quick, safe solution and give Absolute Foot Care Specialists a call. You can reach our Las Vegas office at (702) 839-2010.

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