What Happens After You Get a Toenail Removed?

When conservative treatments fail to improve the condition of a broken, ingrown, or infected toenail, the best solution may be full or partial removal of the damaged toenail. 

While it’s typically used as a last resort, toenail removal can stop an infection, decrease ingrown nail pain, and help a nail heal from a traumatic injury. 

An experienced podiatrist can put you at ease and ensure you get optimal results from this procedure. Toenail removal specialist Jeremy Moran, DPM, provides expert in-office toenail removal services at his private practice, ToeOp, in Tomball, Texas. 

Dr. Moran performs virtually painless toenail removal surgery so our patients can regain normal walking and foot function after suffering from severe toenail pain. 

Toenail removal procedure

Dr. Moran performs toenail removal surgery in the comfort of our ToeOp office. Depending on the reason for surgery, the procedure involves removing the entire nail (avulsion) or part of the nail (debridement). 

An injection into the affected toe numbs the area so you don’t feel pain. Dr. Moran uses special tools to separate the nail from the nail bed. If part of the nail is diseased, he may remove only that portion of the nail. 

After removing the affected nail, Dr. Moran treats the area to destroy fungi or other types of infections. 

If we’re removing your nail because of recurring infections or repeated ingrown toenails, Dr. Moran may destroy the nail matrix with a chemical or laser after removing the nail plate. The nail matrix is the cuticle area where your nail starts to grow. Destroying the nail matrix prevents the nail from growing back.

At the end of the surgery, we treat the bare toe with an ointment and cover it with gauze. The total surgery time is typically about an hour.

Post-surgery care

While the local anesthetic should keep you pain-free during surgery, you may experience post-surgery discomfort and throbbing that you can treat with over-the-counter pain relievers. You may have to take an oral antibiotic if your toenail was infected.

It’s common to experience a light yellow discharge, bleeding, and swelling at the site of the removed toenail. You can minimize swelling by elevating your foot above the level of your heart when you’re seated. 

Follow Dr. Moran’s directions for wound care. To promote healing after toenail removal, we generally recommend that you:

You have to limit your activity for the first day or two after surgery. Be careful to avoid bumping the affected toe. 

Returning to normal

It can take about two to three weeks for the wound to heal. Watch for signs of infection during the healing period. Contact Dr. Moran if you experience increasing pain, swelling, drainage, or redness at the surgical site. 

Our patients usually resume normal activities a few days after surgery. Wait to return to sports or any other strenuous activities for about two weeks or until Dr. Moran advises it’s safe to do so. 

A new toenail can take 18 months or longer to grow. When the nail regrows, it may have an unusual shape or appearance. 

Find out more about toenail removal and ways to get relief from ingrown and infected toenails.  Schedule an appointment for an examination by calling us at ToeOp today.

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