Does Your Ingrown Toenail Need Surgery?

Ingrown toenails can be very painful, but luckily, most improve with home treatment. If your toenail isn't getting better, minor surgery may be recommended. Drs. Douglas Stabile, Mark Scripps, Richard Derner, Andy Joseph Roussel and Michael Cashdollar are your Lake Ridge, VA foot doctors, and can answer your questions about surgery for ingrown toenails.

When is surgery needed, according to your Lake Ridge, VA doctors?

Surgery may be needed if the ingrown portion of the nail is firmly embedded in your skin or you have developed an infection. Signs of infection include swelling, pus, warmth and redness in your toe. During surgery, your podiatrist removes the strip of toenail that is causing the problem. If you have curved toenails and frequently experience ingrown nails, your doctor may recommend surgery to permanently remove the nail.

What can I expect during toenail surgery?

Your foot doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb your foot before the procedure begins. After the anesthetic takes effect, he'll remove the side of your nail or the entire nail and growth bed, depending on the goal of the surgery.

How will I take care of my toe after surgery?

After surgery, you will need to elevate your foot for a few hours. You may notice that your toe looks bruised, red or swollen. Your foot doctor may give you a special open shoe that supports your foot without putting pressure on your toe. If you don't use the shoe, it's important to wear loose shoes until your toe heals. You'll be able to return to school and work the next day, although you'll want to avoid strenuous exercise or activities for at least two weeks.

It's important to keep the surgical site clean and apply antibiotic ointment and clean bandages twice a day. Over-the-counter pain relievers can decrease pain and swelling. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic if you had an infection.

Author
Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia, PC

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