If there is one part of the body that absorbs all the brunt of the physical impact, it has to be the foot. In fact, in almost every principle of contact sports (e.g. boxing), the flow of physical power comes from having a stable stance (hence the word ‘footing’ or ‘foothold’). It is not surprising to find out that this part of the body also experiences one of the (arguably) most vexing of all minor injuries known to mankind – ingrown toenail.
Statistically, around 10% of the entire population in the United States has experienced an ingrown toenail at one or several instances of their lifetime. It is also reported that 5% of all visitations to the podiatric physicians are caused by a chronic ingrown toenail. Though around 32 million Americans can certainly describe this injury firsthand, only fewer could have known what causes it.
By definition, an ingrown toenail occurs when the nails on either or both sides of the toe impact the inner skin. Among the many reasons that cause this abnormal nail growth includes incorrect nail trimming, improper foot hygiene, tight footwear, athletic activity (e.g. kickboxing, ballet, gymnastics, soccer, etc) and acquired genetic predisposition. Suffice to say, ingrown toenails can hurt people up to an extent that they would require surgery in order to deal with it.
3 Stages of Ingrown Toe Nail
So how much does ingrown toenail surgery cost? Not so fast! After all, it is important for everyone to find out how bad it really is regardless of the degree of discomfort. There are three stages of effectively assessing the extent of an ingrown toenail. These are the levels of severity presented by Curve Correct:
Stage 1: Inflammation
Symptoms include redness and swelling, as well as the blunt pain under light pressure. The toenail has not yet cut the inner skin.
Stage 2: Abscess
Symptoms include increased redness and swelling, accompanied by pus forming around the wounded area. The toenail has already cut the inner skin.
Stage 3: Granulation
Symptoms include chronic inflammation and the relative inability to stand or walk. Septic tissue starts to grow around the wounded area, blocking possible drainage of pus.
7-Step Home Treatment
Considering that the ingrown toenail has not yet progressed to its second stage, it is still possible to remedy this damage without resorting to surgery. Although home remedy is a viable alternative to mild ingrown toenail, it is important to understand that this procedure does not guarantee complete success. Healthy Tips World features some of the following steps for painlessly removing ingrown nail at home:
- Step 1: Soak the foot in hot water laced with Epsom salt for 30 minutes.
- Step 2: Carefully trim the nail at a relatively perpendicular angle to either side of the toes. It is important to completely avoid the ingrown side.
- Step 3: Very carefully raise the ingrown toenail using any sterilized pointy instrument and insert a tiny piece of the cotton ball under it using tweezers.
- Step 4: Apply some antibiotic ointment (e.g. Neosporin) on the sealed ingrown area to prevent infection.
- Step 5: Keep the wounded toe ventilated by wearing open-toed footwear (e.g. flops, sandals, peep-toe shoes).
- Step 6: Repeat the entire procedure daily and check the results.
- Step 7: Cut the exposed ingrown nail with a cuticle nipper.
For home treatment and over-the-counter remedies, the conservative estimate to remove ingrown toenail would not exceed $50.
Average Surgery Cost
The failure of removing ingrown toenails using the home remedy procedure is the right time to ask one’s self, ‘how much does ingrown toenail surgery cost.’ By this particular juncture, the ingrown toenail has progressed to either Stage 2 or Stage 3.
Prior to the surgical procedure, the podiatrist may request a foot x-ray to determine the exact depth and angle of the ingrown nail’s intrusion. New Choice Health puts that national average out-of-pocket cost at around $190. As for the surgery itself, one of the key factors for affecting it would depend on whether or not the patient has a health insurance that will cover the partial expenses.
The ingrown toenail surgery average cost for uninsured patients is roughly $350, according to the national average estimate of MD-Save. However, it is important to consider that this projection does not yet account for the complexity of the procedure.
Serious types of invasive ingrown toenail operations may easily climb up to $1000, especially bearing in mind the cost of local anesthesia and other biochemical applications that aid the procedure. Another factor that can multiply the cost is if (by one’s extremely rotten luck) it involves removing ingrown nails from two toes.
As for the insured patients, the ingrown toenail surgery average cost may either be 10% to 50% of the out-of-pocket expense, including the co-pay. When it comes to the details of the insurance policy, it is highly advisable not to disclose the terms to the assigned physician. The potential for unethical price issuance on the part of the health care provider warrants this degree of vigilance.
On the positive note, it is advisable for patients to take advantage of their medical savings or reimbursement plans. Apart from reducing the cost of the surgery, one can keep or use the deducted funds without having to pay income tax.
Aftercare & Prevention
The National Health Institute states that surgical treatment is likely to yield 98% percent success rate. Hence, it is important to account the biggest factor contributing to the 2% failure – the botched recovery caused by ‘post-operative neglect.’ Therefore, it is also important to bear in mind the marginal expenses of aftercare in the overall estimate to remove ingrown toenail.
Investing on recovery medications and prevention kits is a crucial part of avoiding complications that entail another potentially exorbitant surgical procedure. These are some of the usual items that account for the aftercare and prevention costs:
- Toe spacer gels: $6 to $20
- Protective toe caps: $16.99
- 60 tablets of 5mg Acetaminophen (pain reliever): $53.79
- *** Proper clipping of the toenail: Free