January 3, 2018
After your ingrown toenail removal, you’ll want to give yourself the best chance at a speedy recovery. You may have read, or heard that hours after the removal you can play basketball, run a marathon, etc. If you have some really good pain killers, this may be the case, but you’d just be setting yourself up for a slow, and painful recovery. You really want to avoid infection. Ingrown toenail surgery recovery can be fast, and it’s common to heal quickly, rather than a slow, painful recovery. It is uncommon; however, to experience any major difficulty after surgery. Healing should happen very quickly if treated properly. This is a helpful list of what you can do on your own at home to avoid infection. If a toe becomes infected after toenail removal, contact your podiatrist immediately. You’ll know if it’s infected if it’s swollen, red, and irritated. The following are 5 things you can do at home to avoid infection and increase the healing/recovery time:
- Keep your foot clean and dry, and leave the dressing on for at least one day. Don’t wash it the first day. Pretty much leave it as is after surgery for 24 hours.
- If your toe is bleeding, do not remove the dressing. Apply additional gauze and bandaids as needed. Minor bleeding is normal and nothing to worry about and can be controlled by elevating your foot.
- The anesthesia will wear off about 4 – 6 hours after your toenail is surgically removed. Most patients will not require any pain meds, but if you’re experiencing pain, you can take Tylenol, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen if you are able.
- Starting the next day after surgery, change the bandage twice a day with antibiotic ointment, and a bandaid. Once after bathing in the morning and once after doing a warm saltwater soak at night. Use a warm saltwater solution containing 2 teaspoons of table salt per quart of water or an epsom salt soak following the container directions. Soak the foot for 5-10 minutes, dry the foot and replace the bandage. You may discontinue soaks and bandages when all drainage from the procedure site has stopped. You’ll want to perform the soaks for 2-3 weeks after the surgery.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking has proven to delay healing.
Moderate redness around the nail surgery site, and yellow or clear drainage is normal. This will usually decrease each day. If it doesn’t seem to get better after 4-5 days, but the redness expands to other parts of the toe, swelling occurs, and drainage continues, you may have an infection. If this is the case, and you are still experiencing pain, please contact your podiatrist immediately.