ingrown toenails

5-step approach to a nearly painless toenail removal


One of the most common problems people face with their feet is ingrown toenails. Ranging from annoying to incredibly painful, ingrown toenails typically occur on the big toe. Ingrown nails occur when edges of the nail plate dig into the skin surrounding the nail, causing swelling, irritation, and even infection.  Read more about symptoms, complications and treatment of ingrown toenails.

There are many reasons that the nail plate begins to grow abnormally. For most, it begins with trimming the nail too short or with rounded corners. Other people are hereditarily predisposed to ingrown nails, or wear shoes that are too short and narrow. Unfortunately, sometimes trauma can also precipitate a future ingrown toenail. An ingrown nail is usually a recurring problem. Once you get one, these seem to hang around. especially if your skin begins to grow over the ingrown nail.

Poorly fitted shoes can put pressure on the soft tissue around a toenail causing it to push up over the nail and inducing an ingrown toenail. Also, if poorly fitted shoes are worn for a long time, the can actually deform the nail.

In-Grown Toenails

Poor cutting techniques are another culprit. While trimming nails short seems like a good idea, it can be very problematic. Cutting the nail without cutting off the edges helps keep the skin where it belongs on the outside of the toenail. Once the skin gets up in front of the nail, the toe starts to hurt and swell and the ingrown toenail just gets worse.

Our choices are only part of the story. Fungal infections, injuries, and genetics also play a role. Stubbing a toe not only makes you hopping mad (quite literally), it also can result in a toenail that grows incorrectly. Some people are prone to this type of nail issue, because of the natural curviness of their toenails. If this is the case, it is important to be very vigilant so that problems can be addressed quickly.

Choose shoes and socks with ample toe space, don’t cut the corners down on the sides of the nail, and watch for signs of nail trouble. Even with the steps, sometimes ingrown toenails keep coming back. Unless you see signs of infection, you can begin treating the problem at home. Give your foot a warm soak to make the nail soft and try and lift the edge with something like dental floss or a small nail tool. To secure the cotton in place a single drop of super glue can be helpful. This can also soften the nail.

People with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other circulatory disorders probably should avoid any form of self treatment and seek treatment by a foot specialist immediately at the first sign of an ingrown toenail.  

In-Grown Toenails


treatment options

Most of the patients that come to see us with an ingrown toenail have been putting up with it for some time and just want it out of their lives. Some of them also have heard horror stories about the treatment of an ingrown toenail in a doctor’s office or emergency room.


Don’t be afraid. We have developed several techniques to make getting rid of your ingrown toenail a nearly painless experience.


Our doctors specialize in many advanced minimally and non-invasive treatments, and if necessary, advanced minimally invasive and traditional surgical techniques with patient proven success stories.

Some of those are used to treat your ingrown toenails, such as:

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At Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic we do this procedure nearly every day and often many times a day. All this experience has taught us ways to get you through the experience without a lot of unnecessary pain or fuss. Also, most of the time, you end up with a toenail that looks almost entirely normal. This procedure is called a partial matricectomy. It is also usually a permanent solution to ingrown toenail problems.

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