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Ingrown toenail pain? Why not consider nail surgery

Mr Liam Stapleton

At Benenden Hospital, nail surgery is a safe, painless procedure which offers a permanent cure for recurring ingrown nails. Some patients can be put off seeking treatment through fear of minor surgery which leads to a worsening of the problem and potentially more pain. 

Read on to discover how our nail surgery can relieve your toenail pain.

Who is most at risk of developing ingrown toenails?

If your job means you're more likely to experience an injury to your toenail, such as gardening, plumbing and construction, you’re more likely to developing ingrown toenails.

Sports people, footballers in particular, can also be affected. Our Sports Medicine Podiatrist, Mr Liam Stapleton, says: "Ingrown toenails are common in the football world, for two reasons, firstly they can be caused by the trauma of contact sport, where foot to foot, foot to ball and foot to ground contact is common and often at high velocity. The other common cause is due to the tight fit of most football boots.”

What are the risks from ingrown toenails?

If left untreated, an ingrowing toenail could also become infected. To reduce the risk of infection we would recommend washing your feet regularly to keep the area clean, changing socks frequently, wearing properly fitting shoes, and cutting your nails correctly.

Podiatry treatments at Benenden Hospital

Our hospital has two highly experienced experts performing ingrown toenail surgery. Between them, Mr Stapleton and Consultant Podiatric Surgeon, Mr Andrew MacFarlane have performed over 12,000 nail surgeries with a success rate of over 97%. Our Podiatrists work closely alongside the Dermatology, Orthopaedic and Physiotherapy departments to ensure the best treatment is available to you.

What happens during treatment for ingrown toenails?

Mr Stapleton explains further: “During ingrowing toenail surgery, two pain-killing local anaesthetic injections are given with a very fine needle. Whilst this [the injections] sting slightly it is not overly painful; I can attest to that from personal experience. Every anxious patient I have seen has remarked once the procedure is complete that it wasn’t too painful, and it wasn’t worth the anxiety they had suffered.”

Once the toe is numb, the painful edges of the nail are removed, leaving behind a normal healthy-looking nail plate. The whole procedure takes approximately five minutes and then you can walk out to spend the day resting at home. Daily activities can resume on day two as long as suitable footwear is worn. Pain killers (analgesics) are rarely needed after surgery and, if needed, usually only Paracetamol is advised.

Between two and seven days after surgery, the initial dressing will need to be changed at the hospital. Subsequent daily dressing changes are performed at home by patients. It takes two to three weeks to fully recover for most healthy patients.

At Benenden Hospital, we ensure that your patient journey goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Firstly, you will have an initial consultation with either of our skilled Podiatrists where your history and symptoms will be carefully listened to and recorded. The purpose of the appointment will be to make a diagnosis and an X-Ray, MRI scan or gait analysis will achieve this. “Working out why a patient has acquired this injury is sometimes more important than the actual injury itself because it prevents it from becoming a recurring problem", he explains.

You will receive a treatment plan tailored to what works best for you by taking into account your lifestyle, potential recovery time and budget.

Other podiatry treatments at Benenden Hospital

In addition to toenail surgery, Benenden Hospital also offers a plethora of other podiatry treatments:

  • Gait analysis allows us to create custom inserts which go inside your shoes to alter the force, helping different conditions
  • Ultrasound scanning is a diagnostic tool for foot, ankle and Achilles problems
  • Cortisone injections into an arthritic joint and lubricant injections containing hyaluronic acid. These seek to lubricate the arthritic joints so that they don’t grind and cause more pain
  • For Achilles problems we offer hydro dissection which consists of stripping off the scar tissue of the achilleas to decrease pain
  • Cryotherapy is just one of the many ways that verrucae and warts can be treated
  • If you’re living with tendon problems in your foot, ankle or lower leg, then shockwave therapy may help to relieve the pain by passing a physical sound pulse into the affected tissue to stimulate reparation

Things to remember after undergoing ingrown toenail surgery:

  • Rest for the first day keeping your foot elevated
  • Do not get the dressing wet under any circumstances

Find out more about ingrowing toenail removal and the podiatric treatments and services available to you today by completing our online enquiry form or by contacting our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363158.

Published on 09 December 2022