Surgery for ingrown toenails: Procedure, recovery, and risks

Ingrown toenail

Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem that can be both painful and unsightly. They occur when the corner edge of a toenail grows into the soft tissue of toe causing inflammation and discomfort. In some cases, an ingrown toenail can lead to a painful infection. If conservative treatments, such as soaking the foot in warm water, wearing comfortable shoes, and using a medicated nail polish, do not provide relief, surgery may be necessary.


Surgery for ingrown toenails is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed in a Podiatrist's office or clinic. The goal of the surgery is to remove the portion of the toenail that is causing the problem and to prevent the nail from growing back in the same way.

The procedure typically begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to numb the toe. The podiatrist will then make a small incision in the side of the toenail to remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Depending on the severity of the case, the podiatrist may remove only the portion of the nail that is causing the problem or remove the entire nail bed to prevent a recurrence. After the surgery, they will clean the toe and dress the toe.

Ingrown Toe Nail Surgery Recovery

After the procedure, it is important to keep the foot clean and dry. We may recommend soaking the foot in warm water several times a day and applying an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken as needed to manage any discomfort.

The recovery time for ingrown toenail surgery varies depending on the extent of the procedure and the individual's overall health. In most cases, the patient can return to normal activities within a few days, although it may take several weeks for the toe to heal completely. The podiatrist will provide specific instructions for postoperative care and will monitor the healing process to ensure that the toe is healing properly.

Risks of Ingrown Toe Nail Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with ingrown toenail surgery. Some of the most common risks include infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. In rare cases, the toenail may not grow back properly, or the incision may become infected and require additional treatment.

In conclusion, surgery for ingrown toenails is a safe and effective option for those who have not found relief with conservative treatments. The procedure is relatively simple, and the recovery time is usually short. However, as with any surgery, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to discuss them with our podiatrists before undergoing the procedure.

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