How to Care for Ingrown Toenails After Surgery: Tips for Quick Recovery

July 5, 2023

For those undergoing ingrown toenail surgery, it can feel like a massive weight has been lifted off of your shoulders (or toes), finally giving you much-needed relief from the pain and discomfort. And as with any minor surgical procedure, having proper care after your procedure is essential for a smooth and speedy recovery. To ensure you heal quickly and safely, we have compiled eight tips to guide you through the recovery process. Note: you should also receive post-surgical recovery instructions from your specific clinic and podiatrist, so always ensure that you always follow those and ask your podiatrist if you have any questions.

1. Keep the surgical area clean

Following your podiatrist’s instructions for wound care, keep the surgical area (the toe that had the partial nail avulsion procedure) clean and dry to help minimise your risk of infection. Use mild, fragrance-free soap when cleaning the area and pat it dry gently.

2. Wear comfortable footwear with a spacious toe box

Opt for shoes that provide ample room for your toes and avoid putting pressure on the surgical area. This may be ones with a spacious toe box, to make room for your thick winter socks. Ultimately, you want to choose breathable and supportive shoes to aid in the healing process. If necessary, we can recommend specific footwear or shoe modifications.

3. Elevate your feet when resting

Elevating your feet when resting (or at least the foot that has had the procedure) can help reduce your swelling and help improve circulation. Prop up your foot on a pillow or cushion whenever you’re sitting or lying down. Aim to keep your foot elevated above heart level for optimal results.

4. Use NSAIDs as needed

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort after your procedure, you don’t need to put up with it. You can use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) as needed to help you manage your pain, assuming that you have no contraindications to the medicine.

5. Avoid excessive pressure or trauma

During the recovery period, avoid any activities that may put excessive pressure or trauma on the toe(s). This includes high-impact exercises, running, and activities that require prolonged standing or walking.

6. Maintain proper foot hygiene

Practise good foot hygiene to prevent infection. Keep your feet clean and dry, follow your podiatrists’ dressing change instructions, change your socks daily, and avoid wearing tight or restrictive footwear that may increase moisture and bacteria buildup.

7. Avoid self-treatment

While it may be tempting to follow the advice of well-meaning family members or friends who may be trying to help or support you after your procedure, it’s important to carefully follow your post-op instructions, and leave any other additional ‘home remedies’ aside. Leaving your care to the expertise of your podiatrist to prevent complications and promote proper healing will help you get the best results.

8. Any questions? Just ask. 

Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your podiatrist as often as you need to if you have any questions in the days and weeks following your procedure. You should also have some follow-up appointments scheduled to check on your progress and help with any wound redressing.

We’re Auckland’s Ingrown Toenail Experts

Our experienced podiatry team is here to help, and leave you feeling great on your feet. Book your appointment online here or call us on 09 523 2333