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Ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis)


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Ingrown toenails and the role
of your GP

An ingrown toenail can be a painful condition that can become infected and may require surgical treatment. The epidemiology of onychocryptosis is difficult to determine as it is often considered to be a minor medical problem and as such has been some-what neglected in the literature. 


Ingrown toenails in older people and those with circulation issues

Ingrown toenails become more common in older people as the nails get thicker with age. They are more likely to become infected in people who have diabetes or circulation problems.


Who does this procedure?


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Partial Toe Wedge Resection

Surgical removal of a wedge of toe nail tissue for ingrown toenails

A partial toe wedge resection is a surgical procedure to remove a wedge of tissue from the side of a toe nail. It is most commonly performed to treat ingrown toenails, which occur when the nail grows into the skin at the side of the toe. Ingrown toenails can be painful, red, and swollen, and they may become infected.


When is a partial toe wedge resection necessary?

A partial toe wedge resection may be necessary if you have an ingrown toenail that is not responding to conservative treatment, such as:

  • Soaking the toe in warm water and applying antibiotic ointment

  • Wearing shoes that fit well and do not put pressure on the toe

  • Avoiding cutting your toenails too short

If you have an ingrown toenail that is causing pain, swelling, or infection, our resident specialist, Dr. Atish Chudasama may be able to help. Dr Atish may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and then recommend a partial toe wedge resection if the ingrown toenail does not improve with the usual treatments listed above.

Risks and benefits of partial toe wedge resection

The risks of partial toe wedge resection include:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Nail deformity

  • Pain

  • Numbness

The benefits of partial toe wedge resection include:

  • Pain relief

  • Prevention of further ingrown toenails

Things to ask your doctor if you suspect an ingrown toenail

Ask these questions before committing to a partial toe wedge resection

If you are considering having a partial toe wedge resection, you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits listed above. You should also ask your doctor:

  • What are the chances of success?

  • What are the risks of complications?

  • What is the recovery time?

  • What should I do to care for my toe after the procedure?

What to expect after the procedure

Care for your feet after having procedure to fix ingrown toenail

After a partial toe wedge resection, you will need to keep your toe clean and dry. You may also need to wear a bandage or shoe covering to protect the incision. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help you manage the pain.

You should also expect some pain and swelling after the procedure and possibly some bruising. The pain and swelling should gradually improve over the next few days during which time you will need to avoid putting weight on your toe. You should also avoid soaking your toe in water.

Your GP will schedule a follow-up appointment to check on the incision and your toe. The stitches or surgical glue will be removed at this appointment.

Most people make a full recovery from partial toe wedge resection within a few weeks. However, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions carefully to prevent complications.

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