Painful Ingrown Toenails

One of the most common problems we see as podiatrists is ingrown toenails, with over 3 million reported cases in the US annually. Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the flesh on either one or both sides of the toe. Patients experience redness, swelling, and pain in the area of the ingrown nail. The toe most commonly affected is the big toe, although the condition can also affect the other toes as well. The most common causes of ingrown toenails is either poorly fitting (too tight) shoes or improper nail trimming.


There are several methods of treatment that the podiatrist has at their disposal for curing ingrown nails. Prevention of recurrent ingrown nails is recommended for patients who continually suffer with the problem. The most common advice given by physicians is to make sure that when trimming toenails to cut the nail straight across, making sure not to curve the trim in at the edges of the nail, as this will increase the chance of an ingrown nail.

If the patient suffers frequently with ingrown nails then the podiatrist will likely perform either a nail avulsion) or a nail avulsion with matrixectomy.


With a nail avulsion the podiatrist will first apply a local anesthesia to the area affected by the ingrown nail. The doctor will then cut straight up the length of the nail to remove the offending side of the nail that is causing pain. This is a temporary solution, as the nail with regrow unless the nail avulsion is combined with a matrixectomy. In a nail avulsion with matrixectomy either a chemical solution or laser is used to kill that part of the toenail root so that the nail does not grow back in the area, thus preventing any potential future ingrown nails.


With ingrown toenails the sooner you reach out to your podiatrist to seek treatment the more conservative they can be to produce an effective treatment. So if you or a loved one is suffering from ingrown toenails in Southeast Georgia or Coastal South Carolina make an appointment with your nearest Ankle & Foot Associates office. The doctors and staff will be happy to help you get back to your everyday activities so you can live pain free.

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