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Wedge Resection of Toenail

Surgery to remove an ingrowing toenail should take away infection and pain.

What is an ingrowing toenail?

An ingrowing toenail happens when your toenail grows into the skin around it. The skin can get damaged, causing infection and pain. The problem usually happens to your big toe.
The most common cause of an ingrowing toenail is not cutting your toenails properly. The problem often runs in families as a common cause is having toenails that do not grow straight. Wearing shoes that do not have enough width to fit your toes in their natural position can also cause an ingrowing toenail.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should no longer have infection and pain.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

  • Try to cut your toenails straight across and do not leave sharp edges.
  • Wear shoes that comfortably fit the shape of your feet.
  • Your GP or podiatrist may be able to push the skin away from the ingrowing toenail or cut away the piece of toenail that has grown into the skin.

What does the operation involve?

  • The procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic.
  • It usually takes about 30 minutes, including 10 to 15 minutes for the local anaesthetic to become effective.
  • Part of your toenail will be removed.
  • Then a chemical (phenol) is applied to the nail bed (the area of tissue that the nail grows from).
  • Sometimes nail avulsion (removing your whole toenail) or surgical excision of the nailbed is required. Your GP will discuss this with you if required.
  • Dressings will be provided and you will be given specific advise about wound care and follow-up

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring

Specific complications

  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Infection in the underlying bone (this is very rare)

How soon will I recover?

  • The procedure will take about 30 minutes, including 10-15 minutes for the local anaesthetic to become effective.
  • Spend time during the first few days with your leg raised so that the swelling settles.
  • After that, you can usually start to be a little more active
  • Do not play sports or do strenuous exercise for two weeks.
  • Keep the dressing dry.

Try to cut your toenails straight across and do not leave sharp edges. Wear shoes that fit the shape of your feet comfortably.
An ingrowing toenail can recur.

If you would like to have a wedge resection of toenail, book an appointment with your GP to arrange the procedure.