Is Surgery the Right Solution for My Ingrown Toenail?

Nearly everyone experiences a few ingrown toenails throughout their lives. The condition can be uncomfortable and painful but is often easily remedied with simple fixes. However, there are some cases in which surgery may be the best solution for the ingrown toenail.

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

A woman looking down at her foot

Ingrown toenails, most commonly occurring in the big toenail, are a common condition. This condition, known technically as onychocryptosis, happens when a toenail grows into the flesh of the foot surrounding the nailbed. Although it is sometimes caused by injury, improperly fitting shoes, or improper trimming of a toenail, there are often genetic reasons behind ingrown toenails.

When to Seek Treatment

There are many home remedies for treating an ingrown toenail, but when in doubt, it’s best to have a professional take a look. Our dermatologists can asses ingrown toenails without diagnostic labs or images and can address the varying symptoms of the condition. If an ingrown toenail shows signs of infection (swelling, redness, pain, or mal-odor), please visit us at The Dermatology Clinic as soon as possible. From there, surgery may be necessary.

When Surgery is Needed

Surgery may be necessary if the symptoms do not subside after recommended treatments and if the pain is still unbearable. If self-treatment or medical attention does not help after three days, surgical options can reduce the risk of infection and future ingrowth. Surgery may also be recommended for those with conditions such as diabetes or cancer who may have a harder time fighting off infection. Finally, sometimes surgery is a smart option for those who experience ingrown toenails quite frequently due to genetic factors.

What Surgery Entails

There are various techniques to address ingrown toenails, and the procedures can be assessed case by case by our staff. The procedures may address the problem by trimming a piece of the nail down to the root to allow the infection to be drained out or simply cutting the nail in the location just before it cuts into the skin. The recovery time is often quite brief, meaning patients will be back on their feet almost immediately.

It’s important to address an ingrown toenail before it goes from an annoyance to a serious problem. For a professional opinion on this condition, schedule an appointment online with The Dermatology Clinic or call us at (225) 769-7546.

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