Wednesday, 16 November 2022 00:00

When Do You Need Surgery for an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail happens when the top corner or side of a toenail grows into the skin next to it. It is most common on the big toe. Usually, ingrown toenails occur from wearing shoes that are too tight, cutting toenails too short, or a toenail injury. They can be painful, especially if the nail is pressed on. This condition can often be treated at home by soaking the foot in warm water and dislodging the nail from the skin with a cotton swab, but sometimes medical intervention is necessary. If treating the ailment at home does not work, one repeatedly gets ingrown toenails, or one develops an infection or some other complication, surgery might be needed. Those who have diabetes, or another medical condition, are more apt to need surgery for ingrown toenails. Part or all of the affected nails may need to be removed during the process. If you have an ingrown toenail that is not resolving itself, seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can perform surgery or do whatever else is necessary to take care of the problem. 

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Gary Cockrell, DPM of Tennessee. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.


  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.


Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.


Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Brentwood and Madison, TN . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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