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Ingrown toenails are a painful condition that occurs when the toenail grows into the surrounding skin. It’s debilitating and can lead to infection if not treated quickly.

Anyone can suffer from ingrown toenails, but careful cutting and filing, washing and drying, plus the right footwear, is often enough to prevent the problem.

However, these steps are not sufficient for everyone. Some folks are more at risk of developing ingrown toenails due to medical conditions, age-related issues or lifestyle choices. When this happens, surgery is often the best solution.

Foot Deformities

Bunions, hammertoes and corns place lumps and bumps where they shouldn’t be, and your shoes won’t fit properly as a result. This pushes the toes into your shoes and forces the nails into the skin.

Being Overweight

Excess weight places a lot of pressure on your feet and toes. It causes the skin along the sides of the toe to bulge up around the nails, which makes it very easy for the nails to be driven into the skin.

Occupational Hazards

Your work may involve long hours on your feet – builders, airport workers or military personnel, for example. Walking, running or standing for hours places constant stress on your feet and toes.

Dancers and sportspeople are particularly susceptible – in particular, ballet dancers, runners and footballers as they subject their toes to constant and intense pressure.

Younger People

Feet tend to perspire more during adolescence so ingrown toenails are common at this time. Moisture weakens the skin and makes it easier to penetrate. Damp also allows foot fungi to flourish, which makes toenails brittle and flaky leaving rough edges to poke into the skin.

Older People

In later life, toenails thicken and become harder to cut properly. They also become harder to reach, as we’re all less flexible as time goes by. Long and unevenly cut toenails easily dig into the skin.

Water Retention

Certain conditions such as heart or kidney issues cause water retention in the feet and ankles. This leads to swelling which squashes the toes and leaves them nowhere to go except into the surrounding skin.

Toenail Shape Can be Genetic    

Curved toenails can be inherited, so regular careful cutting is needed to prevent them from growing in the wrong direction.

Do You Need Surgery for Your Ingrown Toenails?

Your podiatrist can advise you on footwear and foot hygiene, provide orthotics to ease pressure and prescribe antibiotics to fight infection. They’ll even cut your toenails for you – essential for diabetics and for anyone who wants to do this correctly.

However, once you develop an ingrown toenail it needs surgical removal. If the pain is extreme or there’s swelling and pus, infection will follow if left untreated. This is bad for anyone but diabetics are particularly vulnerable to further complications.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery at Feet By Pody

Happily, this is a simple procedure for our experienced podiatrist. We can remove the whole nail (total avulsion) or simply a small section (partial avulsion). It depends on your condition and either way there’s no discomfort as we use a local anaesthetic.

After removal, we apply a special chemical to the nail bed to prevent regrowth, so you need never worry about this problem again.


Your toe may be a wee bit sore afterward, but standard painkillers are usually sufficient to keep you comfy. The toe is protected by a dressing as it heals, and we’ll fully support you with follow-up appointments and guidance on ongoing care.

Contact Feet By Pody today