Ingrown Toenail Surgery

Ingrown toenails are a very common, yet very painful and frustrating, problem that we treat here at Masterton Foot Clinic. No one is immune – we treat ingrown toenails in everyone from toddlers to athletes to those in their golden years. 


Ingrown toenail surgery is one of the multiple treatments we offer for ingrown toenails. It is by far our most popular treatment as it permanently corrects ingrown toenails for approximately 9 out of 10 of our patients. 


To learn more about ingrown toenails and why they occur, click here.


Permanently correcting ingrown toenails with surgery

This minor surgical procedure is called a Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA). It is performed routinely in your regular treatment chair, under the care of our experienced podiatrists. The appointment is one hour long, with the procedure itself taking only 15 minutes. The rest of the appointment consists of preparing your foot beforehand and dressing your toe afterwards, adhering to extremely strict safety standards and infection-control protocols. 


This procedure is very well tolerated by children and adults alike. It is performed under local anaesthetic so it is painless. We’ve put together a short video on the procedure being performed on a patient here at Masterton Foot Clinic – please view at your discretion as we have not censored any part of the procedure. 


YouTube video


The procedure: Ingrown toenail treatment

During a PNA, we remove the bothersome nail edge and apply a chemical that stops the specific ‘problem’ part of the nail from growing back.


  • We start by cleaning and disinfecting the site – not just the toe but the front half of your foot, to minimise the risk of any foreign particles from coming in contact with the toe during this procedure
  • We then inject the toe with a local anaesthetic using a thin needle
  • Once we confirm that your toe is numb, we carry out the procedure where we remove the small portion of the nail that is growing into the skin and causing you pain
  • With your permission, we then apply a chemical called phenol to destroy some of the nail growing cells, so that edge of the nail does not continue to grow back and cause you pain
  • We dress the toe to promote best healing
  • We book you in for a dressing change and give you the low-down on how to best care for your toe in the meantime


Why we love the PNA surgery for painful ingrown toenails

This procedure is simple – you sit back with your phone, a book, or an iPad as a distraction for the kids, and your painless procedure is completed within an hour. No extra time off work or school is needed, though we do recommend taking it easy for the remainder of the day and putting your feet up. 


You don’t need to wear any boots or braces after the procedure – we recommend going home in a jandal on the affected foot and not wearing shoes that may press on the toe inside the house. There is usually very little discomfort after the procedure, and any discomfort that does arise can be taken care of using appropriate painkillers.


After we apply a sterile dressing to your toe, we provide you with a take-home dressing pack and re-dressing instructions, and monitor your progress to ensure it is healing well.


How does a toe look after the PNA procedure?

While some people are concerned about the appearance of their toenail after a PNA procedure, you don’t need to worry. Once complete healing has occurred, your nail will only be marginally shorter, we try to remove as little of the nail as possible, and it will look like it has a very straight nail edge on the side that the procedure has been performed on.