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Ingrown Toe Nail Surgery, Four Weeks Post-op And STILL IN PAIN

by Christine D.
(Nashville, TN)

I had surgery on an ingrown toenail four weeks ago. The surgery included the use of a chemical to kill the nail so that it would not grow back. The Dr who performed the surgery and nurse who assisted were very casual in discussing post-operative care, did not put me on an antibiotic, gave me no surgical boot - sending me home limping with my bandaged toe shoved into my shoe and told me that it would feel better in about two days. Ha! The first week felt like I'd been attacked by a nest of bees and stomped on by a horse. The second week the pain was a little less but the skin around the edges of my nail became inflamed and red. When I called the Dr. they said not to worry if I did not have redness going down my toe to the foot. Four weeks later I still have extreme redness around the edges of my toe, the incision is barely showing signs of healing, it still runs and bleeds occasionally and my toe frequently feels like it has been burned. In the middle of the night I regularly wake up to extreme pain, burning and stabbing and nerve pain kind of like a big giant tooth ache. I went back to the Dr. two days ago (saw his partner/wife) and she said that while it didn't look infected she agreed to put me on an antibiotic but that the appearance of my toe - even 4 weeks post-op was NORMAL! She basically ignored my complaints of pain and in the last two day since I was there, the pain, particularly the nerve pain, has gotten much worse. I don't know what to do. Am I having some kind of a reaction to the chemical used to kill the nail? Am I over reacting - as my extremely unsympathetic Dr. seems to be indicating? Should I go see a different Dr. or should I just give it more time?

Hi Christine,
Four weeks after the procedure your toe should be feeling basically fine. The problem with using a chemical to kill the 'root' of the nail is that most of these chemicals cause a chemical burn which have a tendency to drain quite a bit for a period of time, tho, usually not four weeks. If your diabetic or have some other health issues, the healing time can be delayed.
I personally think four weeks is way too long for having this kind of pain. Since you have not gotten any satisfaction from your doctor, seeing another doctor might not be a bad idea. Even though ingrown nail surgery is not major surgery, complications can arise and they need to be addressed.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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