What is nail surgery?
Nail surgery is a permanent solution to resolving ingrowing toenails or thickened, damaged nails that are difficult to cut or look unsightly. The word surgery can often sound daunting and may put you off what actually is a simple procedure.
When should I do it?
Nail surgery is usually indicated for patients with ingrown toenails that are particularly difficult to self manage and therefore tend to dig on the sides of the toe which can cause pain, bleeding and infections. It can also be carried out to remove nails that suffer from fungal infections.
What happens during an appointment?
An initial, routine appointment is necessary to assess the ingrown nail and see if surgery is the best option. This is because sometimes part of the nail can be taken out without the need for surgery. If surgery is required, we will book you in for an appointment at a time that is suitable for you.
On the day of the surgery the podiatrist will check that you are still okay to go ahead with the procedure and make sure there are no contraindications. In this instance it is really important to let your podiatrist know if you are taking any medication that might impact the procedure itself or the healing thereafter (for example, aspirin or metformin.)
The local anesthetic will then be injected (this is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure) once the local anesthetic is working, you won’t feel any pain at all, but you will still feel the pressure applied to your toe.
The podiatrist will then remove the whole nail or part of it depending on what is more suitable for you. A chemical called phenol is then applied to the root of the nail to stop it growing back and preventing the same problem reoccurring. Although unlikely, it is important to outline that there is still a 5% chance that a nail can regrow.
How to avoid an ingrown nail
The usual cause of an ingrown toenail is a sharp edge of the nail that has not been cut properly. Tight shoes can aggravate the problem; so can cutting too far down the side of the nail.
Many people will have an ingrown toenail at some point in their lives. Using the correct technique to cut your toenails can help prevent this problem. It’s important to make sure that you cut your toenails straight across, leaving them long enough so that the corners lie loosely against the skin at the sides. In other words, don't trim your toenails too short, don't round the edges, and don't try to cut the toenails into a pointy V-shape.
Call us today on 01279 438444 to find out more about treatment for ingrown nails or to book an appointment at our well established, friendly Chiropody & Podiatry clinic located in Old Harlow. We are well located and are happy to see patients from any area including Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Epping, Roydon, Nazeing, Broxbourne, North Weald, Loughton, Ongar, Stansted and beyond.