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Ingrown toenails bring an onset of pain worse than any other foot injury, almost challenging the intense ache of a stubbed pinky. However, while the pain of a stubbed toe eventually fades away, an ingrown toenail just gets worse over time. And if it reaches a certain point where even standing or walking becomes unbearable, you may need to undergo surgery to remove the affected toenail. Although, even after the removal, you have to stay vigilant, or you might end up with an infection. This may not be a common occurrence, but it is still advised to keep an eye out for signs of infection after toenail removal surgery.

Is There a Risk of Infection After Toenail Removal?

Yes, if proper care is not taken, it can offset the recovery progress of the toenail, causing germs and bacteria to fester at the site, leading to an infection. But it is important to keep in mind that this is not the case with everyone.

Usually, patients heal really fast after a toenail removal, so much so that they’re able to resume their daily activities the next day. The only reason you even get an infection is because of poor hygiene and not giving your foot enough time to rest. If you start walking and standing on your feet for long periods of time immediately after, the skin will not have time to heal itself.

Moreover, it is crucial to keep the surgical site dry at all times. Even the slightest bit of moisture can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, which is why doctors bandage up the toe, keeping it dry and covered from external stimuli.

Signs of Infection After Toenail Removal Surgery

It typically takes 48 hours to heal after an ingrown toenail surgery. The pain and discomfort might still linger for some time, but they, too, disappear after a few days at most. However, if you notice an uncomfortable sting on your toenail, with the area looking red and irritated, it could be a sign that it has become infected. You can also look out for the following recurring symptoms that may indicate the start of a bacterial infection.

  1. Zero Progress on Healing
    A toenail that refuses to heal or better itself is a red flag and demands immediate attention.
  2. Excessive Bleeding
    Bleeding is normal after the surgery, but it tends to stop after a day or two. If it continues for longer than 3 days, let your doctor know.
  3. The Toenail Appears To Be Red or Swollen
    Since the surgery is intrusive, swelling is to be expected. However, it typically returns to normal. In the case your toe remains swollen, red, and tender, you may be dealing with an infection.
  4. Pain That Keeps Worsening Even After Taking Pain Relief Medication.
    Similar to other effects, pain is a common feeling. But if you are unable to get rid of it, despite taking pain relievers, there may be something wrong with it.
  5. Constant Chills or Fever Spells
    High body temperature is one of the most severe infection symptoms. Contact a medical professional as soon as possible if you keep getting chills and the fever doesn’t go down.
  6. Pus-filled Pocket Near The Surgical Site
    An abscess or pus pocket is a sign that your toenail is getting infected. Draining is the only solution to this problem.

Closing Words

Ultimately, you can spot an infection from afar, but it is still necessary to be able to identify the signs of infection after an ingrown toenail removal surgery. In case of an infection spell, visit Sharaf Diwan, MD, at 18220 TX-249 #230, Houston, TX 77070, or give us a call at (832) 604-0005.

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