Can I Play Sports After Infected Ingrown Nail Treatment?


Recently, I was watching the Tennessee Titans play on TV when the announcer related that football player; Chance Warmack was playing just days out of having both big toenails removed. “Ouch” they said.  I knew better… not necessarily. With some investigation thru some media outlets, it is said he had removal of the sides of his nails along with some “Toe Meat.” Enough to spoil your football snack right?

So what really occurred? How is this? Was this a magical procedure for the wealthy? No, not really. It sounds like this player had ingrown nails that were infected. That is the nail curves along one or both sides and causing it to dig into the surrounding skin.  This can then puncture the skin where infection sets up.  When infection sets in, the skin about the ingrown portion of the nail can become severely swollen, red, and painful and even start draining pus, not to mention a foul odor.

Treatment can be performed same day, in office with minimal pain during and after. Thus, the athlete can return to activity rather rapidly. In my experience, the patient can quickly get back to activity post treatment because the ingrown portion of the nail, acting like a dagger is gone.

The toe first needs to be numbed or anesthetized with a shot. Not into the painful area but proximal or closer to the base of the toe. Although not the most comfortable, it typically can be anesthetized in about 30 seconds. After that, I’ve usually said, it’s a piece of cake for the patient as one will only feel pressure during the procedure, not pain. The toe is then prepped and the ingrown portion of the nail is excised or cut out.  The surrounding “Toe Meat” is excised as well. That is, any dead, infected tissue is cut away leaving viable pink healthy bleeding tissue. The area is rinsed and dressed with a compression dressing and topical antibiotic. Typical postoperative care can include soaking and redressing daily. Pain after is usually minimal, if any, usually controlled with Tylenol or an anti-inflammatory. Most patients told me that any discomfort after was “No Where near the Pain I Had When I Walked into Your Door.”

The first bandage usually is a large bandage to control bleeding. Thus inability to perform sports can be impeded. The next day though, the bandage can be much smaller to fit into a shoe and activity can usually be resumed.

In addition, believe it or not, as some won’t just to “Cover Themselves”, NO oral antibiotic is needed. The infection is essentially cut out and a healthy individual will heal naturally without the oral antibiotic, not to mention the additional cost and side effects!

So don’t wait if you’re suffering with an ingrown nail. The treatment is essentially quick and in most cases, the pain resolved fast.