If you care for your toenails, you probably want them short. However, if you let them get too short on the sides, you are at risk for an ingrown toenail. Many people taper the corners of the nail so it curves to the shape of the toe. However, this may encourage the toenail to grow into the skin of the digit. The sides of the toenail must curl down and dig into the skin. An ingrown toenail also happens when you wear shoes too tight or too short. If you suffer from ingrown toenail, consider removal at the podiatrist’s office.
What nonsurgical measures can I try before the toenail removal procedure?
Ingrown toenails must be treated as soon as possible. If you cannot get to the doctor, or your removal isn’t scheduled for a few days, you should:
- Soak the foot in warm water a few times each day.
- Keep the foot dry and in a white sock.
- Wear comfortable shoes with large toe boxes.
- Take ibuprofen or naproxen.
How is the toenail removed?
If you have excessive swelling, redness, or inflammation, the doctor will first prescribe some oral antibiotics. You will need to take this until all gone, and schedule a removal. When you arrive at the office, the doctor will have you sign a consent form. The toenail is numbed using a local anesthetic. A tourniquet is applied to limit blood loss to the toe.
First the Scottsdale foot doctor removes a portion of the nail and the underlying nail bed. In addition, adjacent soft tissues are removed, along with part of the growth center. Surgery is used to eliminate the nail edge from cutting inward into the fleshy folds of the toe skin. Permanent removal may be done using a laser or chemical agent.
What type of procedure is available?
The three methods of toenail removal are:
- Avulsion – Tearing away of the nail.
- Ablation – Removal by mechanical methods.
- Wedge resection – Removal of just the outer corners of the nail.
What is phenolization?
After removal of the nail, phenol can be applied. For many patients, the podiatrist applies the phenol to the nail matrix (root) during the procedure, which yields a high success rate of permanent removal.
What is recovery like following toenail removal surgery?
Recovery following a toenail removal depends on the procedure. Options are:
- Recovery from nail plate and matrix removal – The nail will not appear the same as other nails after surgery. Recovery takes 6-8 weeks. During the first 24 hours, keep the gauze and dressing on the toe, and keep the leg elevated. Soak the toe in warm Epsom water, and apply antibiotic ointment. Avoid any pressure, and wear loose fitting shoes.
- Recovery from partial nail fold and matrix removal – After this procedure, you should wear the bandage for the first 3-4 days. Elevate the leg, and soak the toe in warm salty water. You cannot wear shoes for 2 weeks, but may cover the foot with a loose sock.