Ingrown Toenail Removal
(Removal, Ingrown Toenail)
This surgery removes all or part of a toenail that has curled and grown into the skin.
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Reasons for Procedure
This surgery is done on people who are not helped by other methods. It is done to:
- Ease swelling and pain
- Treat infection
- Remove a poorly shaped nail
- Correct abnormal nail growth
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
- Blood clots
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
- Problems with blood circulation
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
- Anesthesia options
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
- Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
The doctor will give a local anesthesia. The toe will be numbed.
Description of the Procedure
Tools will be used to cut the nail down towards the cuticle (bottom of the nail). All or part of the nail will be taken off. A chemical may be put on the cuticle to prevent the nail from growing back.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than 1 hour
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care help.
At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
- Give you pain medicine
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the toe
- Place a surgical shoe on your foot
It will take four to six weeks for the toe to heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You may need to delay return to work for two days.
Problems to Look Out For
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, more pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the toe
- Chalky white, blue, or black color of the skin of the toes or foot
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Diabetes Association
Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association
Nurses Entrepreneurial Foot Care Association of Canada
Ingrown toenail. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/ingrown-toenail. Accessed March 17, 2021.
Ingrown toenails. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/ingrown-toenails. Accessed March 17, 2021.
Paronychia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/paronychia. Accessed March 17, 2021.
Shafritz AB, Coppage JM. Acute and chronic paronychia of the hand. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014 Mar;22(3):165-174.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 03/17/2021