Toenails can become injured or painful for many different reasons. The most common cause is from an ingrown toenail or nail edge that has become excessively “incurvated” or grown into the skin. When this causes pain or disability, it can be easily fixed with a minor procedure called a “matricectomy”.
Ingrown toenail procedures predictably “fix” the ingrown edge, usually without needing to sacrifice the entire toenail. Once the toe is numb, the procedure can be completed within 10 minutes. There is usually some healing time involved afterward, and local care (soaking, antibiotic ointment, band-aids) is recommended until the area is fully healed. There are usually no restrictions on your ability to exercise or function after the procedure.
If you are able to plan ahead, wear open sandals to your visit as you can expect the toe to be bandaged in gauze afterward. Once you change the dressing yourself, usually band-aids are all that is required for covering.
Temporary versus permanent nail removals are available. Your Podiatrist will make the determination of what is best for you. If a permanent procedure was performed, you can expect the toe to appear “wet” and it is expected to drain as part of its healing cycle. Written and specific care instructions are dispensed at the time of your visit.
Once the surgical site has fully healed, the result is usually cosmetically undetectable.
If a “temporary” nail removal has occurred, then the nail is expected to re-grow. This can often take 6-12 months for a full regrowth. Toenails grow in much more slowly than fingernails.