This is surgery to remove a toenail that has curled and grown into the skin, causing pain.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The entire nail or the portion of the nail growing into the skin may be removed. It is most often done to:
This procedure is most often done when the nail has repeatedly cause these problems.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
You will be given local anesthesia. Only the area that is being operated on will be numbed by an injection.
A local anesthetic will be used to numb the toe. The nail will be cut down towards the cuticle (bottom of the nail) using special tools. Then either the whole nail or part of the nail will be pulled off. A chemical may be put on the cuticle to prevent the nail that was removed from growing back.
Less than 1 hour
It will likely hurt when the anesthetic is injected into your toe. During the procedure, you will not feel pain, but you will feel pressure and tugging. After the procedure, you will likely have some pain. Your doctor may give you pain relievers.
To help with your recovery:
Complete healing takes about 2-3 weeks. This will not interfere with most activities. If the entire nail was removed, your body will create a hard skin in its place. After the skin has covered the sensitive area, you can resume normal activities.
Call you doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Diabetes Association
Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Nurses Entrepreneurial Foot Care Association of Canada
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association
Eekhof JA, Van Wijk B, Knuistingh Neven A, van der Wouden JC. Interventions for ingrowing toenails. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(4):CD001541.
Ingrown toenail. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/ingrown-toenail. Accessed March 6, 2018.
Ingrown toenails. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/ingrown-toenails. Updated January 2018. Accessed March 6, 2018.
Paronychia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115236/Paronychia . Updated August 11, 2017. Accessed March 6, 2018.
Zuber TJ. Ingrown toenail removal. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(12):2547-2554.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Monica Zangwill, MD, MPH
Last Updated: 3/18/2013