Do I Need Surgery For My Ingrown Nail?

3 March 2021

Ingrown Toenails can be extremely painful and debilitating and even minor problems can quickly flare into something much worse if left untreated.

At Stepping Out Podiatry we have treated hundreds of ingrown toenails successfully over many years and unfortunately, many are the result of poor nail cutting and by patients digging sharp objects down the sides of the nails to try and clean them out.

Avoid digging anything down the sides of your toenails and if there is a slight irritation, pick up the phone and call us.

All it takes is for the skin to be scratched, ever so slightly, and this small break in the skin can lead to an infection.  

Summer or Winter toes

Statistically, warmer months produce more ingrown toenails than cooler months.

When it’s warm, the skin around the nail becomes soft due to sweat and retained moisture within the shoe, however the nail is hard and with constant shoe pressure the nail can penetrate and break the skin.

In Winter, poorly fitted footwear can also be a problem and can significantly increase the chance of ingrown toenails by pressing the toes together too tightly in the shoe.

What Are My Treatment Options?

Regardless of the cause, treatment for an ingrown toenail is quite simple.

At Stepping Out Podiatry our Podiatrists will first and foremost take a detailed medical history before commencing any form of treatment, because it’s important to know if this has been an ongoing problem, or if it’s your first ingrown toenail.

Your answer will determine the type of treatment undertaken.

It’s also important to know how painful it is. Sometimes an ingrown toenail can look terrible and be relatively pain free. If this is the case treatment is simple and usually involves simple trimming of the nail away from the nail groove and applying a sterile dressing.

When treating ingrown toenails, it is advisable to review all treatment within one week.  

When is removal of the toenail required?

If you have had a long history of painful ingrown toenails and conservative treatment has been unsuccessful, then a minor surgical procedure may be the best option.

This procedure is relatively painless and is performed under local anaesthetic in our Podiatry rooms, and you do not need a referral from your GP.

When local anaesthetic is injected into the toe it is numb within minutes, making the ingrown toenail surgery completely pain free.

The whole procedure is completed in under an hour, and once the area is dressed, you will walk out of our clinic pain free. Even when the anaesthetic wears off, rarely does anyone complain of pain, because all the Podiatrists at Stepping Out Podiatry are highly trained toenail surgeons.  

Success Rate

At Stepping Out Podiatry we perform this procedure countless of times every year with a 95% success rate. The unsuccessful 5% is when the body rejects the chemical we use to sterilise the nail plate and another procedure may be needed for these toes, however it is rare.  When you have nail surgery, we guarantee the results, which is why patients travel quite a distance to receive treatment at our Sunshine Coast clinics.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please telephone us on 1300 881 082 and one of our friendly team will assist you as best they can.

Dr Carly O’Donoghue (Podiatrist)