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  • Dr. Gary D. Prant, DPM

Ingrown Toenail was removed - now what?

Postoperative nail care - or why you need me and not Doctor Google!


It’s a good idea to Google something that you really know about once in a while. I was just looking at instructions for postoperative care of ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenail are one of the most common things we treat every day. Frankly the instructions I saw on the Internet labeled “typical aftercare instructions,” were different from the instructions I give my patients. Thankfully the “Dr. Google” instructions have the disclaimer: “many doctors prescribe their own treatment regimen. Make sure you adhere to your doctor’s counsel.” Excellent advice!


General aftercare is described: Get home, lay down and place your feet above your heart until the local anesthetic wears off. They say that the numbing agent will wear off in one to 2 hours. We use a much longer lasting anesthetic that usually lasts 8 to 10 hours and sometimes 20 hours. Our record anesthetic time is 50 hours! Dr. Google also recommends that you keep the bandage dry until the next morning. We recommend soaking that night and squeezing out the water with a paper towel. They recommend soaking for 10 to 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day in a solution of Epsom salt. This we agree with.

Google says that redness around the surgical area is normal unless “it increases dramatically.” I also agree with that. We tell patients to be concerned if there is increasing pain, thick plus, and redness going to the knuckle of the toe. It is not unusual to see some clear drainage and even tinged with blood for a few days. Doctor Google goes on to extol the benefits of Amerigel which I agree is an excellent product.


Dr. Google gets it mostly right – it’s just those pesky details that can cause you trouble!


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