If one of your nails presses on or pierces your toe, it’s becoming ingrown. The problem, which usually affects the big toe, will only get worse without the help of a foot specialist.
In many cases, conservative podiatry treatments are sufficient to relieve the pressure on the affected toe and discourage abnormal nail growth. However, patients who experience considerable pain and impaired mobility due to stubborn, severe ingrown toenails may require a small operation in order to completely resolve the problem.
In fact, stopping troublesome nails growing deeper and deeper into the skin is the most common reason for toenail surgery. Ingrown toenails affect both sexes and all ages, with numerous risk factors ranging from genetic disorders (such as fan-shaped nails) to external issues (restrictive shoes, foot injuries, poor nail-cutting technique, fungal nail infections, etc.).
It’s only natural to feel a little nervous before an operation, even a minor one. But we hope that our guide to what you can expect from ingrown nail surgery will put your mind at ease.
Removing Some or All of the Affected Toenail
When a patient needs surgery for an ingrowing nail, one of the following procedures is performed.
- Partial nail avulsion: the offending part of the toenail (usually a thin strip down one or both sides) is removed. The procedure is, in the words of the NHS, ‘a very effective and commonly used operation for treating ingrown toenails’. The patient is left with a narrower nail, but the change in appearance is unlikely to be too noticeable.
- Total nail avulsion: the entire toenail is removed in extreme cases (for example, if it has become particularly thick and misshapen). The patient is left with an indentation on the top of the toe, but the nail’s absence is unlikely to impair foot function.
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, one of the professional bodies of which our foot experts are members, has produced a toenail surgery video. It includes clips of actual procedures and emphasises that toenail operations are performed ‘carefully and precisely’. Unless you’re particularly squeamish, watching the video is a helpful way to familiarise yourself with what the surgery entails.
Reassuring Facts about Surgery for Ingrown Nails
Toenail surgery is nothing to be overly worried about; it’s a fairly routine procedure. What’s more, it brings welcome relief from pain, discomfort, inflammation and infection.
- You don’t need to go to hospital for ingrown toenail operations. We provide toenail surgery in London at our hygienic, well-equipped podiatry clinics.
- You’ll have a skilled team around you: your toenail surgery will be performed by one of our experienced podiatrists with the support of a nail surgery assistant.
- Whether you’re having partial or total nail avulsion, you’ll only need a local anaesthetic. You’ll be awake and comfortable throughout the surgery.
- If the toe is infected, we’ll drain off the pus and prescribe antibiotics.
- The part of the nailbed exposed by the surgery will be treated with the chemical phenol, which prevents regrowth of the nail in that area, giving you lasting relief from the problem.
- You’ll receive excellent aftercare, including advice about changing dressings over the coming weeks and follow-up sessions to help ensure that the toe heals properly.
Ingrown Nail Surgery from London Foot Specialists
Toenail surgery may sound daunting, but when performed by an experienced podiatrist it’s actually a relatively straightforward procedure with tremendous benefits for patients.
We offer comprehensive treatment and aftercare for ingrown toenail problems. Thanks to our patient-focused approach, you’ll be kept well informed every step of the way and have ample opportunity to ask questions, so you can enjoy real peace of mind.
For effective treatment for ingrown toenails at London foot care clinics, please call Feet By Pody today on 0207 099 6657 or book an appointment online.