Ingrown toenail

Surgery to remove an edge of the nail and stop it growing is performed as an out-patient. This means that you do not need to be admitted to a bed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. The procedure takes 20 minutes and is successful in 95% of cases.


After numbing the toe with local anaesthetics the surgeon removes a wedge of toenail and nailbed to prevent ingrowing happening again.Some times you might have entire toe nail removed with nailbed if it is a recurrence after intial operation.


All surgery carries potential risks. The risks are minimized by having the surgery meticulously performed by an expert in foot and ankle surgery. Risks include

  • Pain, swelling, and bruising - will occur to some degree following all foot and ankle surgery.
  • Infection - approximately 2% in our unit.
  • Bleeding – some time there can bledding.Usually oit stops by itself.If your dressing is soaked with blood the dressing might need changing.
  • Nail re-growth and recurrence - there is a risk that a small section of nail can re-grow causing pain (this can be removed if required)

Discharge advice following in-growing toe-nail surgery


Your foot has been dressed in a wool and crepe bandage. This dressing needs to be changed by your GP practice nurse in 2 days’ time and then as necessary. The practice nurse will advise you about this. At this point you should start saltwater soaks.


It is very important that you rest as much as possible and keep your foot elevated for the first 48 hours after surgery to prevent bleeding and swelling. Try to avoid letting it hang down when sitting as this will lead to swelling and pain. This is most apparent within the first 2 weeks but swelling may occur for up to 6 months after surgery, especially after sitting or standing for long periods. In bed, put the foot on a pillow.


You will receive a prescription for pain medication on discharge. Pain is often due to swelling, and this is eased by rest and elevation of the foot.


You may walk on the foot in whatever way is comfortable.


You will be reviewed approximately 2 weeks after surgery. If you have had an operation to stop the nail growing rather than just having the nail removed it is common for there to be a slow discharge from the nail bed which may last for several weeks and this is normal.


You should not drive a manual car for 1 week after surgery. After this you should start gradually to see if you are comfortable. It normally takes a few days to feel confident


If you have an office based job then you should be able to return after 2 days. If you have a more physical job, then it may take 2 weeks.