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Spring Clinic

2616 Farm to Market 2920,
Spring, TX, 77388

Downtown Houston Clinic

6550 Fannin Street
Houston, TX, 77030

Ingrown Toenail Pain

Symptoms and Surgery

An ingrown toenail without infection is simply a painful toenail edge, but with infection it is essentially a foreign body lodged in the nail groove of the toe. An ingrown toenail can arise on its own, from cutting the edges improperly, tight-fitting shoes or from trauma and fungal infections.  The problem is that if you do not perform the right ingrown toenail removal procedure the toenail edge either comes back or has an odd or unpleasant appearance when it heals.

Dr Moore explains the permanent ingrown toenail removal procedure

Ingrown Toenails are associated with other foot conditions such as:

  • Fungal Toenail
  • Hammertoe
  • Mallet toe
  • Corns

Ingrown toenail pain ranges from dull to sharp depending upon the level of irritation and compression of the nail edge(s). Learn more about our guaranteed permanent removal of ingrown toenails – contact us today.


When it comes to ingrown toenails, the biggest fear my patients have is that their toe is going to look ugly after the procedure because of how much of the toenail edge we have to remove. And after many years as a podiatrist and foot surgeon, I know that the second fear people have is that the procedure we use to fix the ingrown toenail is going to hurt and cause substantial foot pain.

First, let’s discuss toe pain. Before we do the ingrown toenail surgery, we anesthetize the area behind the toenail making the entire toe completely numb. This process of anesthetizing the toe is very quick and easy resulting in very minor foot pain (and most patients barely even feel the anesthetizing needle). Also, we take care to place the needle on an area of the toe that is not very sensitive at the base of the toe (which all but eliminates any associated toe pain). And, that’s the nice part about the way that we administer the anesthesia where it’s not injected right into the toenail like some emergency personnel will do who are not foot specialists. So, once and for all, when you come in to fix your ingrown toenail, you will experience a complete toe numbing with virtually no foot pain and this numbing process is performed in the office by myself or one of nurses.

For the ingrown toenail surgery procedure, over the years, we have developed a technique where it’s not necessary any more to take a large piece of the toenail, but, just the piece that disappears down into the nail fold where it’s really digging in. And, once that piece is pulled out under anesthesia, then I push the skin up against the new edge to make sure that it looks cosmetically nice where the old ingrown toenail portion is then removed utilizing a chemical and a special technique with a tool that we use. And, in short, what happens is just the ingrown toenail area below the nail fold down in the grove that was causing the pain is gone and it does not come back. As a podiatrist, this “will not come back” benefit is huge for my patients because I have had patients come to me after one, two or three removals from different practitioners or their family practitioner. So, while these earlier ingrown toenail procedures did provide them with relief, they did not solve the foot pain problem and our ingrown toenail surgery technique will eliminate this ingrown toenail permanently.

So, in short, ingrown toenail surgery is painless and permanent. Cosmetically, we can remove all of the infected tissue and remove just the edge to make sure that it’s cosmetically appealing after it heals.

Permanent ingrown removal – Cosmetic result

Not only is the procedure performed in the office, quickly and painlessly with local anesthetic, but our surgeons take care to maintain the shape and cosmetic appearance of the nail. The procedure involves usage of a chemical agent so the ingrown edge will not grow back

The ingrown toenail edge is removed to relieve the pressure and a chemical can be applied (depending on the infection status) to stop the ingrown edge from returning permanently. The procedure is performed in the office with local anesthetic or occasionally at an out-patient facility under sedation (e.g. young children, anxiety, bone infection).

Full weight-bearing is allowed immediately without restrictions.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: This is a video of an ingrown toenail surgery in our clinic from start to finish. After numbing the toe, the edges are removed to give the best cosmetic result and a chemical is applied to prevent them from returning. If performed correctly, there is no change in the nail appearance after healing from the procedure. Callus build up in the nail grooves will also not return since the nail edge is permanently removed and there is no pressure in this area.

Ingrown Toenail – NON SURGICAL


A larger, softer shoe can relieve the direct or indirect pressure from ingrown toenails. Make sure that the shoe has enough room at the end about the width of your thumb and that the toe box (front of the shoe) is high enough to allow your toes to move freely.


Cutting the nail edges straight across without cutting the corners will prevent the skin at the edges from growing over the nail (becoming an ingrown toenail). Once the nail is ingrown, the painful edge(s) can be angled at the end by a professional to temporarily relieve the pressure and/or infection.


There is an array of over the counter pads that can be placed between the toes or behind the painful nail edge to relieve the pain associated with ingrown toenails.


Nail softening products (topical creams, gels, solutions) can ease the pain and pressure of the painful ingrown toenail. Antibiotic medication may be necessary for acute infections.


Well Logo

NY TIMES Article: definition, causes and Treatment

WebMD Logo

Toenails: definition, causes and Treatment

Mayo Clinic Logo

MAYO CLINIC Article: fungal nails, cause and treatment

These are links to more information on the subject, not intended to imply an endorsement.

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