Ingrown Toenail Surgery Aftercare

Unlike many other surgical procedures that require heightened degrees of attentiveness, ingrown toenail surgery aftercare instructions are minimal since our toes can heal pretty well on their own with minimal assistance. More onerous are the directives from your doctor suggesting lifestyle and wardrobe changes.

Typical Aftercare Instructions

Frankly, there seems to be very little consistency in the instructions provided by doctor’s performing ingrown toenail surgery to patients.  Many patients will post comments on the internet about how their doctor said such and such and someone will respond with their experience and state that their doctor said something completely different.  Please note that when you read online comments by individuals recounting their experience, you have to realize that most people are generally going to comment when they have had a bad experience.  Although you will read some posts and comments by people who had a non-eventful surgery, many others will be negative and it is easy to get confused or overwhelmed by these statements.

You must also remember that you are only getting one side of the story.  They are writing what they “remember” their doctor telling them.  We truly have no idea if these individuals actually followed the doctor’s instructions.  With that said, please remember the following:

  • Many doctors prescribe their own aftercare regimen. Make sure you adhere to your doctor’s counsel
  • If you are confused or feel vague about certain aspects of the aftercare regimen, then make sure you ask the questions and don’t stop asking for clarification until you are clear you understand each instruction.  You are the boss in this transaction.  Do not let your ignorance about medical procedures cause you to remain silent out of embarrassment

A general aftercare regimen will consist of the following:

  • Get home, lay down and place your feet above your heart until the local anesthetic wears off.  This will prevent the throbbing pain that tends to occur when individuals walk around and continue to engage in activities while numbed up and the agent wears off.
    • Numbing agent will wear off in 1-2 hours — feel free to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen, as needed for pain management
    • You may experience post-surgery bleeding — this is normal.  Do not remove bandage or dressing and instead place additional dressing over toe
  • Keep your foot clean and dry until the next morning when you will:
    • Soak your foot/feet with bandage on for 10-20 minutes 2-3 times a day (You may take a shower, as well, if you feel your toes can handle the pressure of the water hitting your toes.)
    • Dissolve 1 tbsp. of table or Epsom salt per pint of warm water
    • Gently remove bandage(s) after soaking and pat dry softly before applying any prescribed antibiotic solutions or recommended creams/ointments into the groove where the nail previously existed
    • Place a new bandage/dressing on wound and repeat for the prescribed duration of recover (most likely until your first post-op appointment)
  • You may experience drainage (body waste and chemical solution) from the wound and this is normal as the body expels the root cells in the nail matrix that were killed with the chemical acid for 2-3 weeks
  • Redness around surgical area is normal unless it increases dramatically

Amerigel Aftercare Treatment Advantages and Instructions

Some patients may be prescribed an Amerigel kit for dressing their wounds.  Amerigel does the following:

  • Eliminates the need to soak wound in warm water
  • Absorbs chemical drainage
  • Contains ingredients that clean the wound
  • Is a topical antibiotic
  • Requires only once a day dressing changes vs. 2-3 with traditional methods outlined above
  • Generally heals wound one weak faster than traditional method outlined above
  • Sold over the counter and does not require a prescription

How to use Amerigel (VERY EASY):

  • After showering or bathing, blot the surgical site dry and apply the Amerigel on top of the nail bed where the nail was removed (Avoid placing the Amerigel on your good skin. Stinging may occur for a few minutes and is normal.)
  • Apply a 2×2 inch gauze over the toe and cover with a loose band aid, or coflex (If severely infected use the wound wash after your shower or bath and  prior to applying the Amerigel.)



One thought on “Ingrown Toenail Surgery Aftercare

  1. I had my one Big Toe Ingrown toe nail removed, down to the root. I asked the Doctor if that will grow back, and he said “no”.
    There seems to be a rather large space on both sides. Will this eventually grow together?
    I know you cannot see it, so you cannot say for sure. My question is does this sound “normal” or I should contact my Doctor right away?


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