If you are having part or all of an ingrown toenail removed, it’s for a good reason.

Perhaps the toe has become extremely painful or infected. Or perhaps you have been suffering from recurrent ingrown toenails for a while now, and removing the nail is the best (or only) way to ensure it will stop happening.

Whatever the reason, you can rest assured that the procedure itself is both simple to perform and simple to go through. It doesn’t matter how much your toe might hurt before the procedure – the toe is properly anesthetized to ensure no pain while we operate, and you will feel a great deal of relief once the numbness wears off!

But what is life like after an ingrown toenail removal surgery? We have some answers for you on that, but we are always happy to discuss your specific ingrown toenail situation with you directly as well. Please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.

ingrown toenail surgery

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Ingrown Toenail Removal?

The type and amount of nail removed can influence the overall length of recovery time, but generally you can expect anywhere from 2-6 weeks for the toe to fully heal. There are a few circumstances where full recovery might take longer.

That said, you won’t be laid up that entire time. Far from it! Most patients are able to return to work after 2 days of rest. You may have some restrictions on force and activity during this time (you shouldn’t go to the gym or lift weights for 2 weeks, for example), but most standard work activities should be fine.

It is always important to adhere to our estimations and recommendations in each case. We will have a much more specific understanding of your situation at that time.

Will I Be Able to Drive Home After the Ingrown Toenail Removal?

No. We can’t recommend anyone drive home with a bandaged foot or one that is still under the effect of local anesthetic. Please arrange to have someone drive you home.

What Will I Have to Watch for Following the Surgery?

We will provide you with specific instructions for post-operative care, but there are some overall tips to keep in mind:

  • We will dress the toe afterward, but you will likely have to apply new dressings at home. We can show you the best ways to do so.
  • Keep your foot elevated above the level of your heart as often as you can during the first 48 hours, to help reduce swelling.
  • Keep the toe clean and dry, except when cleaning it. We can inform you of when and how to best do so, depending on your circumstances.
  • If you have to be in footwear, wear shoes that have a roomy toe box that can accommodate the bulk of your dressing. Avoid any tightness against the toes as much as possible.
  • Contact us right away if your toe is in severe pain or you experience any other unexpected symptoms.
ingrown toenail surgery

Do I Need to Worry About Anything if My Toenail is Gone Forever?

In some cases of recurring ingrown toenails, we may surgically remove the entire nail, then treat the underlying nail bed to prevent new nail from growing back. This might be the only real way of preventing ingrown toenails from returning in patients who are naturally inclined to get them.

While no longer having a toenail may feel unusual at first, your toe is not really at any major disadvantage without it. You do not have a greater risk of infection, and have a lower chance of pain with the nail gone!

If you wish to, you can paint the skin of the missing nail to match your other painted toenails. Use non-toxic brands of polish and discontinue using any that irritate your skin. Do not attempt to bond a standard fake nail to your skin, as removal can cause significant damage. We might be able to help you find a better alternative, depending on the circumstances.

Be Free from Ingrown Toenail Pain

A minor surgical procedure can make a huge difference for many people with ingrown toenails. However, surgery is not the only option for everyone. Some people have ingrown toenails that can be successfully treated via non-surgical methods, and they will not have recurring troubles if they treat their nails well.

But if a partial or full removal of a nail is best for you, do not fear pain or a problematic recovery. We can get you through as comfortably as possible, and you’ll be much happier without that constant source of aggravation!

Call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle at (208) 855-5955 to schedule an appointment at our Caldwell or Meridian Offices. You can also reach out to us electronically by filling out our online contact form.

And if you are not sure whether your ingrown toenail (or another condition) requires in-office treatment, we offer telemedicine appointments so we can consult with you while you remain safely at home.