Ingrown Toenails

Can a Pedicure Fix an Ingrown Toenail?

Dr. Campitelli No Comments

If you’re suffering from an ingrown toenail and frequenting your nail salon to have it fixed every 3 months, you may benefit from having the ingrown toenail removed. The toe doesn’t necessarily have to present with signs of infection to warrant having a procedure done to remove the ingrown toenail. I have seen many patients who finally make an appointment to have the nail border removed and say they wished they would have done it years ago.

As we age, toenails can acquire a slightly curved shape which causes the nail border to grow into the adjacent nail fold creating pain. While cutting the corner can temporarily relieve the pain from the ingrown toenail, it will not prevent the nail from growing back which recreates the pain in several weeks to months. A procedure known as a matrixectomy, will permanently resolve the problem by removing a 2-3 mm portion of the side of the toenail.

Below are examples of what the ingrown toenail border looks like on a big toe. The shaded red area depicts where the painful ingrown toenail is. Click here to watch a video.

Ingrown toenail surgery Akron ohio

Ingrown toenail treatment Akron ohio

What to do if you “smash” your toenail. 

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Toenail trauma is very common and can create panic to many people. The biggest question is “what do you do to the toenail?”. Here are some guidelines on what to do if you injure your toenail.

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Reoccurrence of an ingrown toenail – A Nail Spicule

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If you have every had an ingrown toenail removed and developed a reoccurent small portion of nail in the corner, it is called spicule.  This small sliver of nail will grow at the same rate of the full sized nail plate but will be a small detached portion of nail.  While it is nothing to worry about, it can be irritable and bleed if pulled out.  Many patients also describe that it catches on their socks and clothes and is painful.   Read More

Surgical Removal of a Painful Toenail

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Suffering from a severely painful toenail that is constantly irritated with shoes and impossible to cut?  Surgical removal is most likely the best option.  Toenail deformities can be the result of trauma to the nail plate which can occur from dropping something on your toe, or simply through years of irritation of the nail plate on a shoe.  Nail fungus can also be the cause of a deformed toenail, so it is imperative to first have the nail tested for fungus before making any decisions to permanently remove the toenail.

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Infected toenail or nail fungus?

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An ingrown toenail is typically the result of the nail plate growing into the adjacent nail fold or skin next to the toenail. The break in the skin allows bacteria to enter and an infection occurs. 

Sometimes a toenail can acquire a bacterial infection under the nail plate itself. Examples of this can be due to a deformed toenail (which could be from nail fungus or trauma to the toe) causing the toenail to become loose and allowing bacteria to collect under the nail plate and eventual form an abscess. The abscess usually occurs in the eponycium or “cutical” area. 

Here is an example of a nail deformity in which the patient presented with severe pain and drainage from the toenail. Under these circumstances the nail needs to be removed to allow the infection to be drained.  An antibiotic is initiated and recovery is usually two weeks. It’s is important to catch this soon as neglect can lead to a bone infection in the toe. 

What is an ingrown toenail?

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ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is when the border or side of your toenail breaks through the skin next to it which eventually leads to a skin infection or cellulitis. The skin becomes swollen, red and painful. Sometimes you will see pus draining from underneath the nail.

Treatment at home consists of soaking the foot or toe in warm water and a tablespoon of Epsom salts or antibacterial soap twice a day for fifteen minutes. The area should be covered with a bandaid and antibiotic ointment at all times.

If home therapy doesn’t resolve the infection the border will need to be removed surgically. This is a simple procedure performed in the office with local anesthesia to numb the toe. Recovery involves soaking for 7-10 days and wearing a bandaid and antibiotic ointment.

More serious cases may require taking oral antibiotics and sometimes the entire nail needs to be removed temporarily.

If it is a recurrent situation where the nail continues to become ingrown every six months or more, then a permanent procedure is performed to prevent regrowth of the nail border.

Here’s a video of Dr. Campitelli performing the procedure in the office.


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Subungual hematomas frequently occur in distance runners and I tend to see a lot of them in my practice. While it can be a controversial topic in regard to either draining or removing the entire nail, I learned early in my career that it is best to remove the entire nail.
Read one of my posts on Dr. Nicks Running Blog that gives a detailed approach on the benefits of removing a painful toenail to relieve the pressure from bleeding. 

Surgical removal of ingrown toenail. 

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Suffering from an infected ingrown toenail?

There are two possible solutions for you to fix your ingrown toenail. If this is the first time you are experiencing an ingrown toenail, then a nail avulsion would be indicated. This is a surgical procedure performed in the office where the ingrown border of the nail plate is surgically excised. Antibiotics are typically not needed and the condition resolves by simply removing the ingrown nail border. The recovery period is usually 7-10 days and heavy activity such as running can be performed within 24-48 hours.


For recurrent cases of ingrown toenails, a permanent procedure is typically chosen. This involves the same technique as a nail avulsion, but a chemical is introduced into the nail groove and the nail matrix (cells that form the nail) is ablated to prevent the border of the nail from growing back.  The recovery period is slightly extended for this procedure as drainage usually occurs for 14 days. Regular activity, as well as exercise,  can again take place in 24-48 hours.

Questions?  Post in the comments section below!


Ingrown Toenails: Example of the infamous “hidden” nail.

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If you ever had an ingrown toenail that never responded to your “bathroom” surgery then you may want to read this to see why.

Typically when the nail plate irritates the surrounding nail fold, it breaks the king and gets covered by the inflamed nail fold.  When one tries to “cut the corner” out, they typically miss the entire side and cut a portion of the nail and apply pressure to pull it out.  A spike of nail is left behind and continues to grow and eventually is stuck into the nail fold which complicates the situation even further.  Now bacteria is enabled to enter the skin and an infection occurs.  When this occurs, the only way to remove the nail is through surgical excision and excising the entire side of the nail.

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