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Ingrowing/Involuted toenails are extremely painful and can be treated regularly with routine treatment to encourage the nail to grow healthily.


However when the problem persists and regular treatment proves ineffective, it is often more cost effective to have part or the whole of the nail removed. This is achieved under local anaesthetic where a chemical (phenol) is then applied to the nail matrix to attempt to prevent the problem from re-occuring.

Nail surgery is a method of treating very curved and thickened nails as well as true ingrowing toenails, where a spike of nail has penetrated the flesh. Nail surgery is a minor operation performed under local anaesthetic, so you can eat normally on the day. The anaesthetic involves an injection on each side of the base of the toe.

There are two types of nail surgery:

  • Partial nail avulsion the removal of one or both sides of the nail

  • Total nail avulsion the removal of the whole toe nail


Before deciding on the procedure, the Podiatrist will have considered:

  • Your full medical history and your current medication

  • Other ways of treating your condition

  • Suitability of your footwear

A joint decision between yourself and your Podiatrist has to be made regarding your treatment and a full explanation of the procedure involved. The Podiatrist will endeavour to answer any questions you may have regarding the operation.

On the day of the operation

Allow approximately an hour for your appointment, the operation takes around 10 minutes per toe. The anaesthetic involves an injection on each side of your toe.


The Podiatrist will check your toe after a few minutes to make sure it is numb.The anaesthetic only stops the toe from hurting meaning you will still feel movement of the toe, touch and pressure.


When the toe is completely numb and not before, a tight band (tourniquet) is applied around your toe to prevent bleeding during the procedure. Part of or the entire nail is then removed as previously agreed.


Then a chemical called phenol is applied to the nail be area from where the nail was removed, to destroy all the nail cells that produce nail. In most cases this is sufficient to prevent regrowth of nail. The toe will then be dressed with a bulky bandage.

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