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What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is when your nail grows into the skin surrounding the nail. It is often very painful and shows signs of inflammation such as redness and swelling.

Ingrown toenail disease

How is an ingrown toenail treated?

An ingrown toe nail can be caused by numerous factors such as; poor toenail cutting technique, repetitive trauma, accidental trauma, genetics and poor foot hygiene. There are a variety of ways to treat ingrown toenails but a common permanent treatment is toenail surgery.

Podiatrists are trained in performing minor surgeries and are permitted to inject local anaesthetic. Once injected and the toe is numb, the podiatrist begins removing the part toenail which is causing the nail to become ingrown. The podiatrist then applies a chemical which inhibits the nail from growing back, therefore making it a permanent treatment.

How long will I be off work or school for?

Generally no time off work or school is required. However we wrap the toe in a large bandage after surgery which is best to leave open for 3 days to allow proper healing, so you may need to wear open-toed footwear during this time. We try and schedule nail surgery on Friday afternoons so can have a few days to put your feet up. After 3 days you can go back to using your regular footwear, and full-healing should have occurred after 2-weeks.

Is there anything I cannot do immediately after the surgery?

You will not be able to perform any strenuous activity (ie long walks, sport, physical exercise) or swimming for 3 days after your surgery. The more you rest your feet in this time, the faster you will heal and be back to full function.

Is nail surgery covered by private health insurance?

If you have private health insurance and you are covered for extras including podiatry, most likely the answer is yes. You need to contact your private health insurance fund to confirm that you are covered under your current policy.