Ingrown Toenail Removal - Office Visit

This procedure involves removing skin into which the corner or side of a toenail has grown. The nail is then trimmed to help it grow straight.

This procedure involves removing skin into which the corner or side of a toenail has grown. The nail is then trimmed to help it grow straight.

An ingrown toenail develops when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding soft tissue. This can lead to pain, redness, swelling and the potential for infection, which can occasionally be serious.

  • If the nail has grown into the skin, the excess skin will be cut away to free the ingrown nail.
  • The nail is then trimmed to help it grow straight and prevent it from growing into the skin again.

Ingrown toenails most often occur with the big toe. Contributing factors may include:

  • Tight, poorly fitting shoes
  • Excessive sweating of feet
  • Unusually curved or improperly trimmed toenails
  • Trauma to the toe or participation in activities that involve sudden stops
  • Congenital misalignment of the toenail

An ingrown toenail can cause pain near the corner of the toenail, as well as redness and swelling near the toenail and surrounding tissue. If an infection develops, you may notice increased pain, redness, heat, pus drainage or fever. You should contact your healthcare provider if you have an ingrown toenail that is causing you discomfort. They will ask questions about your medical history and do a physical examination of your feet.

  • If you have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or a weak immune system, it is important that you consult with your healthcare provider as soon as you develop symptoms for timely treatment recommendations.
  • X-rays are not typically necessary unless your healthcare provider wants to check on an associated condition.

For otherwise healthy adults, uninfected ingrown toenails can often be treated at home. Treatment can include:

  • Soaking your foot in warm water for 10 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day. It is important to dry your foot well after each soaking.
  • Wearing shoes that allow your toes to spread normally when you walk. Do not place pressure on your toes.
  • Wearing open-toed shoes and rotating your shoes may be a good idea.

If these measures are not effective, or you suspect an infection, contact your healthcare provider.

Here are other things to consider:

  • Antibiotics may be needed to treat an infection.
  • Sometimes part of the nail may need to be removed.
  • If skin has overgrown the nail, the doctor may cut away some of the excess skin to free the ingrown nail. The nail will then be trimmed to try to make it grow straight.
  • If there is severe distortion after repeated infections, the nail and nail bed may be removed entirely. This is very uncommon.

This care path includes the costs of an office visit and removal of excess skin around an ingrown toenail.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have an ingrown toenail.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries, and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider:

  • Is my toenail infected? Do I need to take an antibiotic?
  • What treatment are you recommending? Are there any alternatives?
  • What steps should I be taking at home?
  • Is there anything I can do to help reduce my symptoms?
  • If medication is recommended, what are the possible side effects?
  • How long will I need to take medication?
  • When can I start to see improvement in my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Make sure you understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).


Also known as:

Toe Pain
Remove Toenail
Ingrown Toenail Removal - Office Visit
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