Ingrown Toenail Surgery & Post-Op Care (w/ pictures)

Tyler HurstBlog314 Comments

Picture these attached to the inside of your big toenails. The fat part should attach at the cubicle.

(The images shown here may be graphic to some or my hairy, bloody toes may offend you. If you’re worried, stop reading right now. For a look at what complete toenail removal and what getting that infected is like, click here.)

My name is Tyler and I’ve been in an abusive relationship with my nails for as long as I can remember. For all my childhood and the first decade of adulthood, I chewed my fingernails. I chewed them to the nubbins until they hurt.

Sometimes they bled. There were hangnails every day. For years, I had no idea that what I had WAS a hangnail, and had always heard about hangnails being such horribly painful maladies. Ridiculous, I know, but I thought what I had was normal. I’d be approaching 30 by the time I overcame that nasty habit.

And that’s where I thought it ended. And then I started running more. And then I noticed that my toes hurt.

Picture these attached to the inside of your big toenails. The fat part should attach at the cuticle.

Every step hurt. Every step always hurt. Not just when I ran, but whenever my toes had pressure on them, like say, at the end of a bed with tucked in sheets (I kick the sheets out to avoid pain, not because I had some weird claustrophobic thing). More so after I played sports that required lateral movement, like tennis and basketball, but I figured the pain in my big toes was just part of that. What I didn’t know was that the nails curved inward at each edge, digging into the sides of each one. Man, that hurts to think about it that way.

Clippers and nippers hurt! Way painful. No matter how hard I tried, I could never cut off enough. One time, while I was recovering from pilonidal cyst surgery, I’d managed to angle cut down almost to the cuticle of the outside of my big toe (outside being relative to my body) and went to my normal doctor. She brought in some old dude who shoved pliers into the side of my toe, sending painful shocks through my body that made me convulse, which irritated my still-open wound hole.

It hurt so f***ing bad.

While the acute pain subsided after the skin on the side of my toe healed, the nail eventually grew back and dug in again. Instead of trying to trim it, I went the opposite way and let it grow back out, hoping that the problem was just that I sucked at toenail cutting. After three-ish months, the nail came back and my left toe hurt again. Like before, I ignored it and went about my running.

Super-sharp knife being used to separate my nail. She also cut a bit of the toe, but that’s normal and heals quickly.

Five half marathons, a few years and hundreds of training miles later, the outside of my left toe hurt so much that removing the toenail seemed like a great idea. Remembering that my nurse practitioner was a distance runner, I asked her what to do. She referred to me Dr. Serrina Yozsa, a podiatrist working out of the office adjacent to Scottsdale Hospital on Osborn by the Scottsdale Giants stadium. I walked in, she did some ingrown toenail surgery and sent me home. Recovery was quick and spring 2011 is the first time in my life that athletic activity didn’t make my left toe hurt worse.

While the nail eventually did start to curve into my flesh again, her trimming job allowed me access to the offending area. A quick snip and file solved that issue. But now that the outside of my LEFT toe no longer hurt, I realized that the inside of BOTH big toes hurt a helluva lot, too.

Have you ever tried to use nippers and clippers on the inside of your big toe? Holy hell that area is sensitive. No matter how long I soaked my toes in hot water, no matter how careful I was with the cutting and no matter how many painkillers I took beforehand, I just couldn’t trim enough of the nail back to alleviate the pain. And because the area was so inflamed, I usually ended up cutting the skin on my toe, adding to the pain.

Three shots in my left toe, six in my right. I felt every one.

Don’t think my toe LOOKED all that bad, though. While the area was red, it was impossible to tell anything was wrong, which is why I was so hesitant to get it taken care of in the first place. I’m not sure if I was waiting for it to swell up and start draining pus, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get checked out by Yozsa again. And then I started playing tennis again, with the lateral movement re-igniting the digging and the pain. After completing the Tough Mudder, I headed back in to Yozsa for another round of ingrown toenail surgery.

(I don’t have health insurance, which was another barrier to getting this checked out. My bill for all three surgeries was around $250 per toe, which was totally worth it and I’d pay it again.)

The procedure was the same as previous: three shots at the base of my toe (six for my right toe, because it was slightly sprained from Tough Mudder and far more sensitive), then a mini log-splitter-ish tool to separate the ingrown part down to the cuticle, then pliers to rip that part out, followed by a wooden kabob stick with its tip dip in some kind of chemical that burned and killed my root. It looked far more painful than in felt. Well, that is until I woke up a few hours later when my numbing medication wore off and my toes screamed, “holy hell you ripped a nail out of us! And you cut us up in a really sensitive area! What the hell?!”

This scared me a bit, but most of that gross stuff came off during the initial soak.

I spent 2-4:30am that night alternating between gently laying a bag of ice on my flat-on-the-ground feet and then laying on the floor with my feet up on the couch. It hurt, I could barely walk and all I wanted to do was fall back asleep. Mercifully, that throbbing pain was nearly gone the next morning. Good thing, as my post-op care involved SCRUBBING THE WOUND WITH A TOOTHBRUSH.

Yeah, seriously. Twice a day, I was to soak my toes in warm water with vinegar and baby shampoo, then scrub with a toothbrush, then soak in some anti-bacterial spray, then apply wound dressing, then cover it with at first gauze and wrap, than large bandages. Twice a day for a week, then once a day for a week and then…healing?

It worked. Just like last time, I healed in about two weeks without any infection complications or horrific pain beyond that initial shock during the first night. While I couldn’t wear shoes or Vibrams for ten days, it was a small price to pay for pain-free walking, running and tennis playing for the rest of my life.

In the following gallery, you can see images from my surgery (including the pieces they tore out of my foot. Notice the angle on those pieces, as the small part is what I was able to trim back. Nuts that my nails dug so deep.) as well as pictures from a few days after the initial surgery. I’d guess that mine was a fairly typical case, as we were never much worried about infection. I was able to play tennis 12 days after the surgery (not well, but I could move) and am pain free three weeks later. There’s still some healing to be done, and some dead skin to be trimmed back, but I can’t feel the digging in anymore.

If you’re having problems with your nails and fear ingrown toenail surgery, don’t. It’s totally worth it.

Tyler HurstIngrown Toenail Surgery & Post-Op Care (w/ pictures)

314 Comments on “Ingrown Toenail Surgery & Post-Op Care (w/ pictures)”

    1. Jonathan Ramirez

      No, the Post up is the hardest part and taking care of it. You can literally feel were the shots done and what was removed after the procedure if not taken your medication, as if the doctor was stabbing you over and over with that sharp needle.

  1. Jamie Pattullo

    oh god!!!  i just had this done…which is why i’m looking around.  i refused to watch any of it and can barely look at my feet now and you post pictures?!!!  ugh!

      1. Vanessa

        I’m so glad you posted pictures! I got this done a few days ago and was curious if my experience is normal. Looks like it is. :) I got it done to both sides of my left big toe. I only had a little pain the day after. No pain walking but I couldn’t fit any of my shoes over my big bandage so I had to wear a slipper to work! haha My dr has me applying ear drops with a qtip, sound a lot easier than what you had to do.

          1. Tyler Hurst

            Don’t know if Vanessa will see this, but I kept mine on until the seeping/blood was minimal, then left them off at night.

            I switched from bandages (gauze and tape) to bandaids, then nothing. You’ll notice little to no bleeding after a while.

      2. Keith

        What, man. Don’t be sorry. You clearly stated in the top such gross things would come from this page. She should be sorry for looking and commenting.

      3. lindsey

        is this the surgery that perminately removed the toenails so that they could no longer grow back? I just got mine done a week and a half ago and they look nasty (and knowing they will never grow back doesn’t make me feel any better)

        1. Tyler Hurst

          In my case, yes. But not every nail that’s cut needs to be burned at the root (that’s what the acid on the end of the stick does), but the removal process is pretty similar.

  2. Will M.

    I had this done, my right toe was infected so it took 4 shots in that one and two in the other. Because my right big toe was infected, they didn’t put the stuff on to keep it from growing back. Guess what, after maybe 5 months I am going back in two days. I have to admit, I almost passed out after the shots.

    1. tdhurst

      Oh man, that really sucks.

      This was my second surgery, but I’ve never had the same area done twice. I do have to do regular upkeep to keep my nails from curving again. It sucks, but at least I can dig them out myself now.

      1. StaceyK

        I am one week out, and still in pain. What are the proportions of vinegar, baby shampoo and warm water? My doctor told me to use Epsom salt soaks and thick ointment daily. Maybe the vinegar, baby shampoo and toothbrush scrubbing is what I need, as it looks like a lot of dead skin next to the nail. Thank you for the info!

    1. cindy

      had toenail removal yesterday, the shots were very,very intense, second time for this toe, killed the nail bed this time, hope that ends my problem.

  3. Jonathan Ramirez

    I walked 5 miles after i got the whole nail removed.. big mistake.. The pain was unbearable, I contemplated calling an ambi. but then again itwas *5 Miles* don’t ask why I had to walk. My toe wass till numb after the first 3… I took about 1600mg of painkillers (normal dose was half that) and i STILL felt the pain. After the first hour I began to get a little tipsy, and then after the second I was fine. :)

  4. Jazz

    I just had this done on both side of mt big toe on each foot….
    My question is do yoy lose your toe nail and will it grow back

  5. angels

    Hello just had this surgery done yesterday. Can someone tell me, am I supposed to remove the gauze now and leave it off and just apply the neosporin for a few days after soaking and thoroughly scrubbing it clean. or does the gauze and toe sock stay on longer?

      1. angels

        Okay I’m asking because the doctor says to keep gauze on for the first 7 days. but it stays very moist and goopy Like that. I would think to heal it needs to have air. All in all it just doesnt look good

  6. Emily Jeanette Slater

    I just had my surgery done today. Didn’t think it was going to happen either. I had been dealing with a mild case of ingrown toenail on the right side of my right big toe. Had been dealing with pain for a few months before attempting to trim it back on my own. it worked at first til it started growing back..then it hurt again. So i went to the doctor to get it fixed before it became a real problem. It sounds like mine was a lot easier then what most of you went through. The doctor sprayed this really cold stuff on my toe before giving me the shot, so instead of feeling any pain, i felt just pressure..Honestly, it was like someone had just dipped my toe in snow or a cold lake. And all i could feel was pressure when he inserted the needle. After that the rest was a cake walk. The offending part of the nail was out in seconds. To be safe, he removed the right side of the nail, similar to how the guy in this forum had his removed. I just hope i can keep up on cleaning it. And that the pain isn’t too bad when the nummness wears off. The only thing i’m really worried about is today is tuesday night. and i work a retail cashier job from thursdays through sunday…I hope it won’t hurt to bad on those days

  7. genma

    I had the surgury done a few weeks ago but ny doctors making me keep my covered all the time which is making the scabs go white and kind of like when you skin your knee and have a bath. but he said they were healing fine but I think I will go back in a week.if it hasn’t stopped

  8. Vashti Encarnacion

    I’m having this procedure with the chemical done tomorrow…well today now; it’s past midnight. I had the “minor” version w/o the chemical done in February, but the nail pulled a fast one and took a dive back into my skin. My question is regarding the recovery time. It definitely looks like tomorrow will be ice packs & pain meds, but how soon after that should I anticipate being able to get around with minimal pain?

    1. tdhurst

      I was playing tennis at eight days.

      Walking around without a limp after four.

      Follow the care instructions to the letter and you should be fine.

      1. Vashti Encarnacion

        Thanks. The procedure went well, shots were definitely the worst part. Today is 1 week later and it feels worse than it did hours after it was done. Lots of discharge and redness, not to mention really sore around the base of my toe (cuticle area)…:>( Of course, today is the day after Christmas and the office is closed.

  9. Pk Zabi

    hello ..
    my surgery have done since may 2012
    i’m very thankfull to God .. Now i’m alright
    my foot nail was growing
    the DOCTOR operate it & now i’m right
    i ve’nt prblm :) my foots are right

  10. Jamie Wilson

    I had this done. In 5 days it will be four months since the procedure and it has come back again. I don’t want to have this procedure done again but I know I will have to. Completely infected again. I was giving multiple shots about 5 in one toe. My toe still have the scars from when the needles were injected. The pictures above are nothing like what my toe looked like afterwards. My whole entire top part of my big toe was completely black and blue. If I could upload a picture here I would. But after the surgery I didn’t feel any pain, even when it was in the healing process. I actually for awhile had no feeling of my toe. What scares me the most is that I have diabetes and you have to be very careful with trauma especially to your feet. Ingrown toenails are so painful and I feel bad for people who have them.

    1. madison mathlin

      Yeah ive had it for 5 mounths and i hear u get scars
      from it ifits true im pretty sceard even more +
      if u toe was that bad im tolld that i will only have
      2 injections i really dont want scars :s

      1. jwarrior

        I never got any scars and I had it done 3 times. I’m finally gonna have them do the chemical procedure to stop it. Usually its hereditary, my dad got them, but I never started getting them until I hit puberty. I only get them on my right toe. Hurts but definitely worth it.

  11. Luu

    Ffff, I’m terrified of needles and have a badly ingrown toenail,
    I was talking myself round to get it seen to, thinking, it can’t be that bad…
    I’m sat here dizzy now after reading so many times how bad the shots were.
    Were they seriously THAT BAD? Oh god…

    1. tdhurst

      Only one toe was bad, but it was totally worth it.

      This was my second surgery (first one was the other side of my left, big toe).

      I’d do it again.

  12. Cat

    Without a doubt, only use a specialist. I had it done by a GP first…big mistake. That was horribly painful. Second time, used a podiatrist…piece of cake. My son now has to have one removed, but I am going to ask if they can kill the root so it does not grow back. Both sides of both of my toes were cut out and roots killed. Never another problem with them. Without the roots killed…had to have the second surgery. 1) only use a podiatrist 2) ask them to kill the root if possible 3) the first shot hurts, but not any worse than hitting your toe on something…so totally worth it. Do not be afraid.

  13. Sandra

    I’ve suffered for years! In May of this year both toes were so bad, I was in tears. The right side of the right toe became infected. For 3 days I could not walk. A friend who had had the procedure done to 8 toes all at the same time, made me an appointment. I’ll say this right now, thank God I never googled anything prior to the surgery, and thank God she never told me what all was involved!! She knows I’d have cancelled. I had this done on 6 June and am still healing!! I’m a slow healer and its winter here now, so crap for me. My friend had to use Epsom Salts already back in 2000, every day for a week. My bandages were only allowed off on the 4th day for the first time, where I had to soak in Saline solution every day for a week. This was followed by ointment, a special strip of gauge which had its own ointment, then clear gauge and finally bandaged again. When I went for my one week check up, my toes (both big toes, both sides) were very red due to dryness. So, Oh my word, she had to ‘clean’ them!!! At one point, I kicked so high and hard, I’m surprised I didn’t connect with the doctor and knocked her out! They were still sensitive, not painful. Anyway, she applied what looked like leather strips into each wound (all 4), and re-bandaged. I had to have these on for another 4 days while soaking them twice a day for this period. I slept in my lounge for two weeks on the recliner. Not because of pain, but sensitivity from the weight of the duvet. Me toes seeped for three weeks, and still do, very minimally though, today. This Thursday was a month exactly. I still have quite a bit of crusted blood, no matter what I do as it keeps healing and forming a crust every time I clean it. They are healing, slowly. Depending on the extent of the ingrown toenail, healing can take up to two months. I see this is my lot. After all of this, the injections are most definitely the most excruciating part, and I practically screamed bloody murder! I had to have 3 on each side, and felt every single one! worth it, regardless. After? It was bliss. Prior to walking out, I was told to take two painkillers, which was awesome. The throbbing was minimal once feeling returned, and no pain since I walked out of the hospital. At all. My nails are still curved, but I’ve been told it takes at least 6 months for changes to occur. Lets see. Was it worth the excruciating injection pain? Absolutely, because the relief is beyond amazing. That was the only pain I had throughout the whole process. My toes look just like your picture, with the exception that all 4 sides were done. For those suffering, dont wait, don’t try to fix it yourself. It just builds and gets worse eventually. Much as it happened to me. Not worth it. See a podiatrist. Wish I’d done this years ago!! Oh, I only mangaged to put socks on in my second week as it just felt weird, and shoes only in my third week. Due to nails still being sensitive. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  14. Bethany

    Had my left toe done on 3rd June and its now fully healed, had my other toe done a few weeks later. Hurt a bit more and is weeping a lot now but it’s okay. I’m walking fine but I’ve been advised to lay off sports for a few months. Really happy with the results so far

  15. Brandon

    I had my toenails done about three weeks ago. They aren’t sore or swollen anymore but they are still weeping/bleeding a small amount and they appear to still be “open”. Is this normal after 3 weeks ?

  16. madison mathlin

    I have this problem at the moment and i have a big pice of skin growing next to the nail so when i go to cut it it is so pain full and the skin covers over my nail so i cant reach the nail very well , and so next mon i will have an opration with 2 needles which im so damm sceard of , im so sceard of them that i counldn’t care less if my right foot went gangrenre , ih gosh eveytime i think about it , ut reminds me i only have 5 day and losing . I’m so worryed i keep thinking what if it goes wrong 2 needles my god ….

  17. Joana

    Hello Tyler, im having it done tomorrow and im freaking out. Sorry to ask again but i didn’t quite get it the last time you answered thid question: did your nail grow back normally after the surgery? You only got the sides done right? Do they grow weird or deformed?
    Thank you

  18. Julie

    I just got 1/3 of the inside of my right on toe nail removed on the 16th of this month (6 days ago) and the pain hasn’t subsided at all!! I had an extreme infection in the toe and nail almost 3 weeks ago and have been on antibiotics since then. I was hoping by now that my toe would stop throbbing, but as the days go by, the throbbing stays the same! My Dr. told me to clean & change the bandaging (and use a triple antibiotic ointment) once a day, when I do this it is absolutely excruciating! I have painkillers but they aren’t even phasing the pain that I am in, and I’m no wimp! I’m contemplating calling his office tomorrow, as I feel like it’s not normal for my toe to still be throbbing. I’ve been soaking it and keeping it clean, the thought of scrubbing it with a toothbrush though makes my skin crawl!

  19. Rya Webb

    I got mine done, both sides on both big toes and being terrified of needles didn’t help matters when they are the most painful needle sticks in the whole world! My first toe went fine but the left one had to be poked to numb it like 6 times for whatever reason I could still feel stuff. And now 3 days later that’s the one that still hurts like hell. The other one is definitely manageablr. But my questions are 1. I only gave myself 5 days to recover and my job involves lots of walking around and close toed shoes..will I be able to handle that? And also my doc said something about using cotton under the nail as it grows back to prevent it from growing the same way. Was anybody else told this? I’m super confused by that part of the instructions. And how did anybody end up getting the black chemical off their foot? Thanks!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The black chemical fades are you skin grows.

      My right toe hurt a lot afterwards too, because it took more shots to numb it.

      You should be fine with closed-toe shoes, just expect to limp a bit.

      Yes, you can stuff cotton in between your nail and your toe, right where it was cut, to prevent a skin-like nail-ish thing from forming.

      My nails kinda grow down from the side, so I trimmed them a bunch to keep them from growing back, but I should have used cotton.

  20. Hannah

    I just had this surgery done today, around noon. I know I’m suppose to soak it 2-3 times a day but I forgot to ask if I was suppose to keep the bandage till tomorrow or start the soaking tonight. What was recommended to you? Oh and for those who are asking about the injection pain I was extremely worried about that before I went in. Everything online I read said that it was extremely painful but to be honest, it wasn’t that painful. Just a bad pinch where the needle went in. I didn’t watch while he did it and did deep controlled breaths while he was injecting it. I expected far worse. It’s now 5 hours post op and I’ve taking 1.5 pain killers and I’m doing fine. Don’t know if it’s because the numbing agents he used are still in effect, the painkiller, the offending nail being gone or a combination of all three but so far so good. not looking forward to unwrapping and soaking though. Fearing that’s gonna hurt, but we’ll see.

  21. Hannah

    Thanks Tyler! Super appreciate your response! I thought I had asked every question I needed to post op but I guess that one slipped my mind! Probably because it was in the ER and I know the doc’s are super busy and my toe was the last on their mind (it not being a “real” emergency). However I am pregnant and it was infected and my OB told me to go in. I was just worried beacuse I can see the blood through the gauze and wondered if it needed to be changed to a fresh clean gauze for healing purposes.

  22. Eli Sprague

    I just had a surgery yesterday, the shots were very easy, two to numb the pain and I barely felt them. The procedure was very quick. Definitely worth it. He trimmed the nail and killed the root. There is clear seepage and a very dull slight ache. He told me to wait 3 daye but I took it off after 36 hours after researching online. Hopefully this won’t happen again. Glad I went in to a podiatrist after 3 months of stubborn pain.

  23. Nina

    I had my surgery a week ago and the swelling is so bad after the procedure. I had both of my toe nails done both sides on each toe. It was a horrible feeling after. The pain was so intense and I have been taking 2 tabs of Tylenol 500 mg every 4 hours round the clock. I would be relieve of the pain for the two hours only and after I would start feeling the burning pain on my toes that you wish it was just amputated. I do not know why the doctors can not prescribe any anti-inflamatory to help us relieve the pain. It has been almost 10 days and the pain never disappeared. I took my chances and took an anti inflamatory that I have and it gave me a lot of relief. I wish the doctors should know better than saying just to take Tylenol or Aleeve. I have been soaking my feet twice a day morning and evening with Epsom salt and 2 squirts of betadine. Wipe it dry and then put on ointment that the dr has prescribed to prevent infection wrap it in a gauze and band aid around it. I left the top open to let the wound have some breathing space. Today I decided to put a band aid on top toe since I was going to church to prevent infection. Oh that felt so good. My toes a feeling a lot better. BTW, I was also taking antibiotic Levofloxacin and since the swelling was so bad the dr gave me additional antibiotic climdamycin. I went back to the dr after 3 days and he injected me again and clean my toe nails and tomorrow I will go back again for another cleaning. I am sure I will have another shot again when he does the cleaning. The injection is not as bad as I thought. The cold spray really help a lot before he gives the injection. The gentle hands of the dr really help a lot in the process. I could say this because when he did the procedure he was very tender. when I came back for cleaning, he was in a hurry to do it because there were patients waiting after me and it was really different. Like he does not care if you get hurt. It’s like he is saying deal with it. But on the other hand I can not afford to hate him. He is just human going through his day to day schedule. I still thank God, he took care of my problem which I have ignored for a year and waited till the time it became worst. I was in complete denial that I needed help from the doctor because of the stories I heard from friends.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yikes. Seems like you contracted a bit of an infection. Your situation is why I convinced the doc not to do BOTH toes at once, because I was worried about being immobile. It cost a bit more (another $70 visit fee), but it seemed worth it.

      Good luck and pay attention to that swelling.

  24. Wendy

    I had my toenail completely removed about a day and a half ago and I soaked my foot for over two hours and the gauze is stuck…I drenched it in antibiotic ointment, hoping that would loosen it, but still no luck..Any suggestions?

      1. Wendy

        Yep. I’m going to try soaking it again today. I called the dr and they said it’s normal, but I don’t think it’s usually this stuck…I can’t wait to get back to playing tennis and riding my bicycle again! I had no idea having a toenail removed would be this painful!

        1. Wendy

          The gauze never came off so I went back to the podiatrist. The gauze had ended up incorporating itself under the nail bed. The podiatrist said she had never seen that happen before. I’m special like that, lol! She ended up re-numbing the toe and this time it was extremely painful due to the swelling and tendermess and having the gauze surgically removed. This time I got pain meds and antibiotics for the infection. This has been a slower and more painful recovery than I expected!

  25. Autumn

    I had my left big toe both sides done 3 weeks ago. The shots didn’t hurt me at all and I never really had any pain. My podiatrist told me to soak my foot in epsom salts for 15 minutes 3x a day and to replace the gauze each time for a week. Than after a week I have been leaving the bandage off and just putting it back on at night. The most pain that I have had is when my dog accidentally steps on it or jumps on it. I am still having discharge which is normal and you can have it for up to a month or two. I still have some redness as well but never even really had much swelling. I guess I am just weird like that and I was told to where sandals or open toed shoes for at least the first week or two due to the pressure that tennis shoes can put on the toe. I go back on September 4th for my follow up plus to have my right big toe done. They also went ahead and used the acid to kill the root which causes a 3rd degree chemical burn hence the reason to use the epsom salts to help with the burn.

  26. fran

    My podiatrist offers what they call C&C–they use a round buffing instrument and sort of sand the skin on your foot with it–it smooths the skin and then they concentrate on sanding any calluses or corns (don’t have any) Now I was always told to trim nails straight across so nail would grow out and not hurt, but nurse then trimmed in all the corners of my nails a lot. I asked her about this and she said she noticed I had the beginnings of ingrown nails. Yes, it did relieve the pressure and no pain but now I’m worried that this cutting into the corner. I was always told not to, internet is full of sites that say if you do this you will definitely get badly ingrown nails. Also, nurse mentioned this method of cutting the ingrown toenail out. My questions are: 1) So will this type of trimming the nails lead to a slight ingrown to get worse? Like did nurse do this to create future business–I hate putting it that way but…..Any input from anyone on this? 2) What is the black discoloration I see mentioned? Does it wash away or does it take months for skin to slough off? How bad or big is the black area? How long to go away? 3) How does your big toenail look afterwards? I mean, after all the healing and things are normal, does it look super skinny or weird if you have to have both sides done? 4) I don’t quite get the part about skin growing in where the nail was removed and that skin can get hard and hurt. Can you elaborate please? 5) I seeing people writing about drainage. How much? How do you handle it when you are at work? How much gauze do you have to use to keep it from leaking? Nurse said after day 1 remove gauze and go to a simple bandaid–is that enough to absorb seepage? Thanks–I’m just anticipating!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      1) So will this type of trimming the nails lead to a slight ingrown to get worse? Like did nurse do this to create future business–I hate putting it that way but…..Any input from anyone on this?
      No, it will not cause ingrown nails, but it could make them worse. Depends on if you’re growing from the base or the nail itself.

      2) What is the black discoloration I see mentioned? Does it wash away or does it take months for skin to slough off? How bad or big is the black area? How long to go away?
      Few months. Just peels all away.

      3) How does your big toenail look afterwards? I mean, after all the healing and things are normal, does it look super skinny or weird if you have to have both sides done?
      Mostly the same, just without the reddened skin.

      4) I don’t quite get the part about skin growing in where the nail was removed and that skin can get hard and hurt. Can you elaborate please?
      That’s just me. My nail grows down on the sides, and that hurts. Most people’s grow from the base of their nail.

      5) I seeing people writing about drainage. How much? How do you handle it when you are at work? How much gauze do you have to use to keep it from leaking?
      Just enough to cover it. The drainage has never come close to soaking through.

      1. fran

        Thanks so much for your response. Amazing how small our toes are compared to the rest of our bodies–but can they cause grief!!!!

  27. Rudy t

    Had my toenail removed 14 days ago and I feel like the pain is also most the same before and after removal. Before removal it was very painful to walk and wear shoes being it had gottened infected and afterwards it’s been very tender. Injections were painful, I was injected 8 times. After the 6th I went numb. I’ve bumped my toe a few times but I’m still having a lot of pain even up to the point of not being able to sleep because of pain, dr never said to soak just to keep it dry….been a painful ordeal hopefully I get better soon….

  28. Jesse Ray

    I had to have a complete ablation on my left big toenail in October of 2011 and have not had another problem since. Just had the same thing on my right big toe last Monday due to my RSD the pain has been terrible since.

  29. Rola

    Hi,

    I did the surgery a few weeks ago ( burning of the nail matrix) and now I have still have intense pressure. Is this normal ? could it have grown back?
    Thanks

  30. Michelle

    Just had mine done today, still numb so no pain yet, the needle was just uncomfortable. The most painful thing was watching the procedure, but after reading all these posts I am very nervous about post op pain. Keeping my fingers crossed I am one of the lucky ones.

  31. Nicole

    Hi. I had this minor surgery four months ago.but still there is a gap between my toe nail and the cuticle on both toes.I am worried does this get better?

  32. Daryl

    I Had the big toenail on my right foot removed on Friday the 11th of April at 11 am. Post op instructions were to soak 2x a day for 10 mins in lukewarm soapy water, leave the bandage from the Dr on for the first 48 hrs also take clindamycin 3x/daily. after 48 hrs i am to remove the bandage,soak for10 mins apply Mupirocin ointment and then wrap with a band aid. I am wondering if it’s normal to still be experiencing minor bleeding 33 hrs later and some throbbing.

  33. Daryl

    No pain anywhere else. I am a lil worried that all of the posters seem to have been told about epsom salt and or the scrubbing with a tootbrush and none of that was mentioned to me.

  34. russ

    its funny cause i always have had this problem since i was 18 but always took care of it my self im 43 now, i always thought i was the only one who had this till i read about it on here . i would have to dig it out just like your pics and yes it hurt but as im sure you can agree its that brief moment of real bad pain to finely get major re-leaf i have a hole set of tools i use to do the job its like im a pro now ,,, i never got a infection so far so i must be doing it right lolol… self extraction isn’t for everyone but then again Ive been doing it since i was 18…

  35. Sabrina

    I had ingrown toenail surgery about 3 weeks ago and my big toe is still sore and there is still a space with dead skin, my question is will this dead skin fall off on its own or will I have to go back to get it trimmed off? How long does it take for your toe to look normal again?

  36. Dolly

    I had the acid procedure on both big toe nails in January of 2014…it is now June and my toes are still not healed. I have been on several antibiotics for infections and still am soaking my toes in warm water with Epsom salts and applying bacitracin and bandaging daily. If I had known this would be so long in healing I would not have had it done.

  37. Rachel

    Thank-you for writing so honestly about you’re toenail dramas!
    I’m 22 and yesterday I had my 5th surgery on an ingrown toenail (both sides of both big toes and an extra that wasn’t fixed up properly the first time). I’ve had the chemical burns, minor trims and yesterday’s incision down to the bone with 4 stitches….Thank-you genetics and sports!
    I had little sleep last night because of the relentless throbbing and couldn’t remember the last surgery recovery (5 years ago) being so flipping painful! I was worried I might have developed a weak pain threshold but after reading about your antics with a bag of ice at 2am, I feel better about being in so much pain. 😛 No one seems to understand what a hassle they are but I’m thankful I’m not the only one who always has issues with my toes.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Wait until I share my latest story of REMOVING both my big toenails (because I tired of having the sides constantly worked on) and one getting infected. Hooboy!

      You’re not alone in the late-night pain!

  38. Caroline

    Hey, name’s Caroline and I had a question about the recovery process. I’ve had the partial nail removal about 3 times, had 7 ingrown toes overall, but I fixed 4 of them myself. Recently I got a surgery, and I’m not sure if the healing involves under the nail turning purple. Like a dark shade, is it suppose to do that or is it infected? Because I’ve been putting neosporin on it and warping it to keep clean for a week now. Let me know? Thanks!

  39. Braden

    I just had this operation done on my left big toe, they removed roughly between ¼ and ⅓ of the left side of the nail, all the way back to the cuticle/matrix/whatever it’s called. Like, they apparently twisted the nail to pull it out. Does it still grow back, and if so, how long does it take to grow? And is it even really noticeable, once it grows back completely?

    Also I work night shift at Kroger, pulling around pallets of stock for hours on end. I’m consistently on my feet. How long will I need off before I can really handle this? The doctor said I’d be fine in a day, but I don’t believe that for a second. It’s been a day and a half and it’s still incredibly sore to the point I can’t walk at all. What do I do?

    Thank you so much for all the info on here. This page has helped a lot with so many people, and I’m hoping for the same for me. c:

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Did they insert a wooden stake, with some sort of acid, into your cuticle? If they did, there’s a 93% chance it won’t grow back.

      I took three days off from any kind of movement (for me, that was tennis and running) when I had my nails clipped like yours. It took about that amount of time for the pain to go away, but in hindsight I would have stayed off my feet more.

      Any chance your doc can recommend a week or two of light duty where you can use crutches or sit down (maybe drive a forklift)? My doc was willing to write notes to whoever she needed to, and though I didn’t need it, I can see how many people would.

      Just be completely honest about the pain. If you get yourself an infection (which I did when I had both my big toenails removed earlier this year that I’m going to write a post like this about), you’ll be COMPLETELY out of commission for 3-5 days.

  40. Braden

    Nope. I wasn’t looking (I’m extremely squeamish and haemophobic) but I was told what was being done since it was a student supervised by a trainer doing the work. They only removed the side of the nail and the shards that had grown into the skin, no damage to the nail bed or anything. The dye they used pre-op looks gross, but other than that, it’s apparently a very clean job, just looks like part of the nail is missing so the skin under it is now exposed. They said it’d grow back in a few weeks, but everywhere else I’m reading said it takes months to regrow. I’m rather OCD, so I’m scared it’ll look “wrong” for a long time, if you get what I mean.

    I can probably talk to my supervisors about working with others as a team instead of by myself, and acknowledge I can’t put pressure on my feet without risking further damage, and hope they cooperate with my disability. Even if it’s just an entry level job, I love my coworkers and intend on staying, I just can’t do much immediately after this kind of operation, and I don’t want them to look down upon me for taking time off after I’ve only worked for 5 weeks. I didn’t know what the operation was going to be, or I’d have asked sooner for a couple weeks of medical leave, just to be safe.

    I’m glad the operation was done, it’s a lot better than it getting worse or infected. But it definitely creeps me out if I see it, and I’m hoping it heals pretty quickly. Any tips to avoid recurrence? I know clipping straight across (square cut?) is important, but I’m thinking I need wider shoes, and I’m probably going to soak my feet in warm water regularly, just to keep the nails softer and less likely to cause problems. Anything else I can do? I’d like to avoid this ever again, if at all possible.

  41. Rose

    I’m scheduled for this ingrown toenail surgery on Monday, for both sides of both toes. I’m practically terrified of the impending pain, how many needles I will be getting, and the thought that I will not be able to walk or drive for 2 weeks to a month is very upsetting to me. My daughter just started kindergarten and does not take the bus! I have to clean the litter box for 3 cats inside out tomorrow night, as I’m afraid I will have to stay away from it for awhile. Do these podiatrists prescribe real pain medications, such as Percocet? I will be cancelling and walking straight out of the office if they tell me to just take Tylenol. I have a very low tolerance to pain and am really annoyed about this whole thing. However, if it will be the “Permanent Correction” I keep hearing about, so that I can wear something besides sandals all year long, and not screech out in agony everytime I so much as tap my toes against something, it seems like I have to go through with this. UGH.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I’ve had this done three times, once on each toe and then both at once (I’m the guy who wrote the article). The shots weren’t bad at all, just a pinch and then a swollen feeling. You’ll be able to handle this, because it’s NOWHERE near as bad as stubbing your ingrown toe on something.

      I asked for extra shots on both toes, mostly because I was paranoid too, so don’t be afraid to request it if you still have feeling before they start. It doesn’t make you a wuss.

      93% of people don’t have their nails grow back. I’m one of the 7%, which sucks. I didn’t ask for any pain meds the first two times, but I did the last, as when the local anesthetic (shots) wore off, my toe throbbed and throbbed and throbbed. It sucked hardcore for about two hours, but that’s the ONLY time I had any issues with it. Serious. Ask for two days worth of real pain meds, I don’t see why your doc wouldn’t agree, especially if you have a low pain tolerance.

  42. Rose

    Please let me know what I am honestly to expect. All the doctor said during my consultation was that I would probably have to wear bandages for a week. But all these posts I’m reading here makes me think it will be longer than that. I have the Heebee Jeebee’s and want to cancel this.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I wore bandages for three weeks, but they didn’t affect my walking a ton after the first day. The gauze and tape aren’t as intrusive as I thought, but pointed toes will be a problem. See if you can wear more casual shoes and you’ll be fine.

      I was back to playing tennis in ten days. My toes were a bit tender when pushing off, but it was doable. Your low pain tolerance likely would preclude you from doing this, but if I was able to play tennis I bet you’ll be just fine walking.

      DON’T CANCEL IT. It gets better, I 100% promise. The surgery pain doesn’t last forever and you can walk in comfy shoes, just probably not run or work out a lot. THE HASSLE IS WORTH IT. Took me 30 years of pain to figure this out, if I had another toe that needed this procedure, I’d get it done in a second, even though my left toe was infected this year (I’m just unlucky, I swear, my doc said I was her first infection) and I couldn’t walk for a week.

      But the regular surgery is fine, just follow the directions and soak 2x daily (DO THIS AND NEVER SKIP IT) and your only pain will be that first night when the shots wear off.

      As I said previously, 93% of people never need surgery again. I’m one of the 7% and just this January had both my toenails removed. I’ll be posting about that soon. But even as much as that infection was, if it grew back, I’d do it again. It feels THAT much better to walk without toenails digging in.

  43. Michelle

    I go in in a less than a month to have the left side of my right toenail removed. Really not excited for this, but then again who would be. I have been doing what my husband calls “bathroom surgery” for ten years now and have finally given up all hope that it would fix itself, or that I could even fix it. Cutting away at it always relieved the pain short term but when it came back whooee it would be worse than before. I’ve done everything from making myself bleed to almost vomiting from the pain and as much as I know that healing from the surgery is probably going to hurt (from what I have seen here and what others have told me) its going to be very much worth it. I am really glad I found this because even though its a little graphic for lack of a better term, seeing what’s actually going to happen has eased some fear. Thank you for sharing your experiences for those of us going in or just coming out of this procedure. I can’t wait to be able to play with my daughter pain free :)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yeah, I always tried drunk in the bath tub. So dumb.

      The surgery should NOT hurt. If it does at all, ask for another shot. That’s definitely uncomfortable, but don’t worry about feeling like a wimp. We all have different pain tolerances.

      I’ve watched (obviously) all my surgeries now and it’s not terrible. Because it’s so numb, it looks a lot like someone else’s toe.

      I only had pain that first night. You’ll do great.

  44. Braden

    I just felt like stopping by and posting a bit of an update and another little message to other readers. It’s been a couple weeks now since I had the surgery. I was out of work until the start of this month, just because it took that long ’til I could comfortably walk again, much less put a shoe on. Bought steel toe work boots, used ointment and a bandage around my toe the first couple days I was working, and was able to put a sock on over that no problem. Eventually though, I was able to go without any bandaging at all, and I have no soreness or discomfort whatsoever now.

    Overall, while the initial recovery period is a little gruesome both in the fact that the first night was easily the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, and the fact I couldn’t put any pressure on that toe at all (which meant no walking for the first week), I’d say that it was actually pretty easy to handle. I’m really haemophobic, so it was a little gross to me at first, but now it just looks like part of the nail’s missing. Skin is perfectly smooth, although the cuticle looks odd because of how they cut the nail out. It’s actually really clean. I’m happy with how well the surgery went.

    If you get an ingrown toenail, immediately take care of it. Soak it in warm water (with salt/epsom salt if needed) and try to get it out (safely) before it gets infected. If it’s just started to swell, try doing the same but see if you can drain the infection out cleanly. Don’t try to cut it out unless you’re sterilizing the tool you use, and be careful, because it can often make things worse. If you can’t resolve it on your own early on, go ahead and get it taken care of by the doctors. They usually do a fantastic job fixing it, and honestly, while the first few days might be gruelingly miserable, it’s worth it in the long run because it doesn’t take long for it to stop hurting. Leaving it as is will only let it get worse and hurt more and more, both pre-surgery and post-surgery.

    Also wanted to say thanks again to Tyler for this article and the responses I’ve gotten previously. I was terrified of this at first, but reading about it now after it’s all said and done, I have to say, Tyler covered the process beautifully. The only difference between mine and his is that they didn’t apply phenol to the nail bed at all, so my toenail will grow back (hopefully not ingrown this time). Additionally, I wasn’t given any instruction to clean whatsoever. No scrubbing with a toothbrush, no soaking in epsom salt, nothing. I just applied neosporin-type ointment to the wound, covered it with gauze, and went on with my day. After the first week, I did soak it in just straight warm water and used a cotton swab (Q-tip) to gently clean the surface of the wound, but that’s all. And it’s perfectly clean and healed now, all that’s left is the nail growing back out.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Cool. Glad your nail was able to grow back normally. My doc said 93% of them do and don’t have any more problems.

      But the nail doesn’t usually ever look the same, though. Probably only obvious to you.

  45. Chris liu

    Hi I just got mine two weeks ago and am wondering if the side if the toe will ever grow back and be as strong as it was before? And is so how long does the healing take?

  46. Chris liu

    Hi , I just got mine two weeks ago and am wondering if the side of the toe will ever be as strong as before the surgery? If so how long?

  47. NVs

    Getting both big toes done this Friday.. Wish I would have known about this procedure years ago.. I figured it was normal to have all this pain from playing lots of sports and walking…. Duh….

  48. Lynette

    Hiya, have a question for my fellow ingrown toenail surgery people. I had my surgery 20 years ago in my teens both sides of big toes all at once! Went hiking this weekend (prefer to wear loose fitting or open toed shoes) and really suffered some trauma to both toes but especially my right toe. I have some bruising around the cuticle and swelling (I can push my nail down at the bed and it kinda moves, eek). My surgery was pretty extreme, probably had 1/4″ of my nail removed total on each foot. Have any of you had this problem? It is really itchy but I am guessing that is good and means it is healing. My boots are comfortable and I also size up a half size. Has anyone used lambswool or something. Would really like to take of hiking instead of just walking but I think that up/down slopes really did a number on my toe. Any suggestions are helpful. Thanks!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I hike in lambswool and/or merino wool because I’ve been worried about this happening (my big toenails are now both gone, never to grow back), but have been lucky so far.

      Is this the first time you’ve hiked like this since the surgery?

  49. Dave

    Hi. I’ve been dealing with pain on my left big toe with an ingrown nail for about a week. I’ve been trying to take care of it alone because-sad to say this but I feel super insecure because I have a fungal nail since HS 2010.. will they perform a diff procedure ??

        1. Tyler Hurst

          The doctor has seen far, far worse.

          Don’t for a second feel insecure about showing a doc, it’s usually never as bad as you think it is anyway.

          But I’ll tell you this: if my doc had said that I had to run around the block naked in order to get my ingrown toenail removed, I would have done it. It feels THAT much better now.

  50. k8

    I’ve had the surgery so many times over the past 10 years, I can’t count. I’m toying with the toenail removal, but always back out due to the fear of dropping something on my big toes. Have the phenol, you will thank yourself.

    I think some of us in the 7% just have great healing properties, and the good side is that we have good circulation. I had it again this afternoon and it is just a pain in the a**. The one thing I’ve learned after having it so many times is be observant of the scar tissue. I’ve had to have the corner of one of mine done twice because scar tissue built up near the matrix (underneath the skin) and caused the same problem. Also make sure they make a clean cut (I even remind them now) the first time into the nail. I had a substandard clean cut once and now I have 2 separate layers, stacked on top of each other growing, but the thinner one always splinters off.

    Don’t expect to be a foot model after (I am pretty sports oriented, even after 5 ACL repairs), but I imagine most people that are in the pain the ingrowns cause don’t really care about looks.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I had my toenails completely removed after two or three trimmings.

      The toenail bed feels weird for a while, but stubbed toes are a thing of the past (it’s the NAIL that, when pushed into the cuticle, that hurts: who knew?) and my toes are no more sensitive now (had it done in January, trained for and ran a marathon March-October) than they were before.

  51. Stephanie

    I just had this done yesterday and I am in SOOOOO much pain! I had both sides of both my big toes done. I am very very annoyed because my doc made it sound like I would leave feeling better than I came. When I asked about the pain she warned me the shots would be bad but I should feel better the next day. WOW was that not the case. On my way home the numbness wore off and I started having pain that I would rate 8 or 9/10. I am also annoyed because I was never given any instructions on cleaning like people have stated here. She told me I could start showering the next day but never gave me instructions on keeping my toes clean :(

  52. Eve

    I had this done in the UK last summer and although fully healed a week ago I started noticing it was loose. Then last night the actual toe nail fell off. I was not impressed it’s fair to say. The injections were definitely the worst part.

  53. Tommie

    I have read all the statements here and on other web sites. I was afraid. I have had ingrown toenails in both my large toes for years. I gave myself an infection and so off I go to a Dr. I ask him what my options were and explained I was afraid of the shots. He offered to do both toes all 4 corners by putting my to sleep. I was still afraid for the pain that would come afterwards. I was so amazed that I did not have any severe pain at all. I never took the first pain pill and actually I didn’t even need Tylenol, but I took it to be on the safe side. I am soaking everyday and having the discharge like others, but my toes do not hurt. It did not even hurt soaking them the first time, it actually felt great. If anyone out there is afraid like I was please explore your options first and find a good Dr. This will be one of the best things you could ever do for yourself and your health. I have no regrets and if had to do it all over again, would do it again without any fears. I hope this message helps someone out there that is or will be faced with the same fears I was faced with for no reasons at all. Good Luck!

  54. elena velazquez

    my son just turned two he’s been having a problem with his toenail since 8 month old…but the problem had definitely gotten worse since I started walking thank goodness we live in Florida because he will not wear sneaker it’s always sandals have to wait till he falls asleep so I can trim the extra nail that hangs on the sides the doctor looks at it but tells me that maybe I’m cutting his nails wrong …not true
    i haven’t cut his nails for 2 months..but tonight I had to trim them because they had the nail hanging on the side again and it was bloody it bothers him so much and I could see it red and swollen he’s always in pain I wonder if theres another solution besides surgery ?
    or will my 2 year old keep going through this :'(

    1. Elena velazquez

      well posting that comment sure served as a waste of time lol
      ..thank goodness I got a new pediatrician and read different article/blogs
      thanks for nothing……pls delete this i unsubscribed
      good luck to anybody else

  55. Melissa

    I had it cut and the root burned on Wednesday and it looks like bruising under the cuticle and today I had blisters around the bruising. Is that a sign of infection? I don’t have any pain whatsoever.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Is there fluid in the blisters? If so, is it clear and light or dark and thick?

      If there’s little or no fluid, and there’s a bunch right around the cuticle, that’s pretty normal. It freaked me out at first too, but it went away as I healed.

      No pain almost always means whatever’s happening is normal.

      1. Melissa

        Ohh ok i freaked out cuz my sister said it looked infected (she has no experience in the medical field) It was pink…. Like blood mixed with clear puss, like water, But just a little bit. The doc didn’t tell me anything except put antibiotic ointment on it… I did wear sneakers and was on my feet yesterday and today… I’m going to wear my boots for the remainder of the week and wrap it up. Seemed better that way. And for everyone who said the needles hurt, the doc didn’t freeze it prior to the novicaine needles? Mine did.

  56. Mari

    I love how this post is from 2012 and you’re still responding to people’s comments. So nice.
    WELL, I just had surgery today, my right toe, on BOOTH sides. The injections were HELL. After that, piece of cake, paid left, dropped of my prescription for pain killers, 2 hours later I was home, almost in tears from the pain. Doc told me to soak in water and salt. So I did, it looked like half of my toe was missing lol …. Over did it with the pain killers AND they still haven’t worked. Point is, it’s 1:09 am my foot is elevated and I can’t sleep from the dam PAIN !!! I HATE THIS !

    1. Tyler Hurst

      This happened to me twice.

      For what it’s worth, it shouldn’t hurt like that after the first night. If it’s infected, it will take a few days for it to manifest.

      I spent a night rotating from icing my toes on the ground while sitting on the couch to laying on the ground with my feet up on the couch.

      It gets better (almost every time)!

  57. Mari

    YES…. Still hurts today, I think my case was pretty bad, I soked my foot this morning … And when I tried to clean the edges, it hurt soooo bad, and now I’m too scared to clean it …. Idk how you did the whole tooth brush thing … :( OUCH !

    1. Melissa

      Idk what kind of doctors ya’ll are going to but I have had NO pain at all. I get if the toe was infected and then you had it done, then yes it would be painful as hell. Soaking it in warm salt water and antibiotic ointment after you dry the area will help the infection. As far as the tooth brush goes, I would use it but I didn’t have an infection. On a pain scale from 1-10 I’m at a 2. And it has been a week and a half. I wish I could show a picture of my toe because its still bruised and scabby. 2x a day soak and antibiotic ointment(I got it at the dollar tree) and keep it covered while u have shoes on. But keep it dry at night if you can tolerate the blankets on it, if not put a bandaid over it.

      1. Tyler Hurst

        My pain at night came after I needed extra shots and then walked around a bit on it that day. Never had any pain after the first night, save for my last time when it got infected.

        Good work cleaning your wound and yay for no infection!

  58. javier

    I had it cut and root burned yesterday and still no pain. I was wondering if it was supposed to be painful or not, because it doesn’t hurt me. The skin at the edge of my toe is pale, near where the nail was removed, and I was wondering if that is normal.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I’ve had both no pain and lots of pain for similar surgeries, so I’m betting it totally depends on the person and situation. As long as you have feeling and no pain, you’re good.

      The pale skin is likely dead and may peel off as new skin grows to replace it. It is pretty weird looking, but I’ve had that happen every time. Once it was black and blue and look almost bubbly, but it was just dead skin layers.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Shots are pretty quick. It’ll pinch for a second, but the pain goes away quickly.

      My doc started by spraying some freezing thing on my toe first. Numbed up pretty well.

  59. toni lucio

    Tyler please tell me.. How long in total did it ever take to heal? When could you put on shoes and walk about normally and then exercise(run) normally? Cause walking on that foot and running on it are two different things to me? Also what chemical did they put on it to kill the root? And did it ever grow back? Do you still have to apply “maintenance” to it? Your help would be much appreciated . I’ve been having this problem for going on 2 years now. I had the surgery but it grew back.. I guess since the doc didn’t apply a chemical.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I could walk “normally” in less than a week, but my toe was still wrapped up.

      Running took 3-4 weeks.

      No idea what chemical they used to burn the root, all I heard was “acid” and they applied it with what looked like a big toothpick. Just kinda shoved it in there.

      Yes, I had a lot of maintenance, because my nail never grew back at the root, the nail itself seemed to grow sideways/into my nail bed.

      My nails grew back THREE times. I had both the toenails on my big toes removed in January 2013, have had zero problems since.

  60. Lori

    I had this procedure done today! On the outside of my left big toe and inside on my right big toe. I can’t say I didn’t feel anything. Found out the enzymes in my body breaks down the numbimg medications EXTREMELY fast. Dr froze point of shot on both toes and had a big syringe full of lidacaine. He put more than half of the first syringe in my left big toe put the rest in my other one refilled syringe a bit and put it in the right one again. He was 100% shocked it wore off in less than 15 minutes Lol. He said the condition is very rare to have then put enough in my left big toe to make my foot numb that he could have fixed a broken ankle in a normal person. Now. That being said I’m a little freaked out. I have on my left foot by my big toe a purple spot it looks like my foot is turning purple ONLY in that one spot?!? Is that normal and can I wait to call out patient surgery tomorrow morning or should I actually go into the hospital to. check it out?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Is it throbbing or painful? If not, then you’re okay. The purple is just part of the healing process, likely dead cells from the medication or freezing.

      But if it’s throbbing or painful, go in right away.

  61. Hayley Ralls

    Hi – My 11 year old daughter is having this done in a couple of weeks time for the first time. She has had infected toenails due to ingrown toenails for more than 6 months now and about 5 lots of antibiotics!

    My worry is the healing process. Nobody seems to be able to tell me when she will be able to go back to school. The podiatrist said to keep her off the next day, but play it by ear about when to go back.

    She will have a big bandage on her toe which I have been told needs to kept on for a week after which she will go to the nurse for a check and redressing.

    How long can she expect the healing process take as she obviously has Physical Education at school and does ballet?

    Also, probably my main worry is how squeamish she is. When she went to be assessed, the podiatrist was talking about the procedure and she passes out at the surgery! Would a doctor prescribe something for her as we don’t want this happening during the procedure.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I could move around just fine 2-3 days after the surgery, so I’m betting she’ll be good to go back to school after 1-2 days.

      As for changing the dressing, I only did that morning and night, so the nurse may not be needed.

      The key to healing is to keep the toe as protected as possible. Gym is out for a few weeks, ballet is DEFINITELY out for maybe a month. I remember trying to plan tennis after 2.5 weeks, made a hard stop and pivot, and felt my toe smash up against the shoe. It definitely hurt, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from playing.

      As for her squeamishness…ask the doc to put a sheet up. Mine offered to do so, but I wanted to watch. The pain from the shots isn’t terribly bad, especially if they numb the toe first with cold.

      But honestly, nothing in the procedure hurt more than bashing my infected, ingrown toe on stuff, so your daughter has already felt far more pain.

      Good luck!

  62. Lori

    Hi Tyler thanks for the response the purple spot went away but unfortunately I think I have an infection in both toes. While changing bandages on my toes to soak them in lukewarm epsom salt I noticed a gunky gooey green glob on the bandage. My dr prescribed antibiotics to take since my left toe had an infection in it before the procedure. I’m curious if I should keep taking my meds and hope it goes away or call and let them know?! My dr took a culture of the toenail and infection because I get them twice a month he’s worried.

  63. Robben

    I had this done like 2 weeks ago and my toes are both leaving a yellowish thing inside the bandage. Is that normal? Also the white dead skin is starting to turn purple, but does not hurt or throb. Could that be a bruise, since I play soccer and have hit it a couple times?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The yellowish is just discharge that’s part of the healing process. I had that too, had no issue.

      The purple skin is dead from the anesthetic, and should peel or fall off when new skin grows back.

      Is the purple skin around the cuticle? Like just under?

      1. Robben

        The purple skin is on the side of my toe that I had the nail removed, where the dead skin starts. If the cuticle is the part where the toenail starts, then no. Thank you for your response.

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Yeah, likely just bruising. Skin is pretty sensitive while it’s healing.

          My doc said as long as there was no pain or smelly discharge, I was fine.

          My purple faded to green, then yellow, then gone.

          Probably should keep the soccer to a minimum, though.

  64. Shy

    I just had both large toe nails completely removed by a gp two days ago. I am supposed to soak it, but the second water hits it this excruciating burning sensation kicks in. They aren’t infected, and I have been changing the dressing regularly. But there is dead skin on the side i think i could get rid of if i soaked it.

    They usually don’t hurt much if at all. When you soaked yours did they burn/sting? I have been afraid to take a shower. The entire nail bed is just open, denuded skin. I have pictures, they are a lot more graphic than the partial removal ones. I’m looking for something to soak it in that won’t be brutally painful. It takes so long for the pain to go down after the soak the way my doc wanted me to do it. I’m not into torture, there had to be a better way.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, when I had both my toenails removed in January of this year, they stung when I soaked them in water and Epsom salt.

      Hurt like a bitch.

      Shower felt way better.

  65. Anne

    Hi, I just had my right toe (both inner and outer) done on Tuesday. I have some brusing at the bottom of my toe and I have a lot of pain under my big toe. Would that be from the shots? Is that normal? If so when can I expect the pain on the bottom of my toe to go away? Thanks for you helpful comments

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Bruising is normal, it’s just dead skin from the shots. It may flake off as it fades, nothing to worry about. It will be tender, but only for a few days.

      By the bottom of your toe, do you mean your toe joint where it connects to your foot? If so, that’s like from you being super tense, the doctor holding your toe at a weird angle, you walking on it harder than you should but you don’t know that because it’s numb, and just general stiffness from not being used as much.

      However, if the pain moves into your foot and leg or starts pounding, it’s infected and you’ll need antibiotics and hopefully a few painkillers to ease the pain while the medicine does its work.

      My left toe was infected January of this year after my fourth time getting my toenails trimmed my doc removed them completely. Pain was INTENSE. Trust yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for pain meds if something hurts. Docs are cool about that as long you don’t ask for a bunch of refills (though I did, once).

      Soak it twice a day, keep it clean, stay off of it.

      1. Anne

        Thank you for your help! The pain on the bottom of my toe is actually directly under my toenail pretty much. I looked when I soaked it, and theres a small white line about half an inch long or smaller. I’m assuming that may be from the needle but I get queasy once I think about it so I try not to. I also think I’ve been on it a bit too much so maybe that makes it worse in terms of pain.

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Try harder not to move around so much and be sure to take advantage of assistance when you need it.

          I rode the electric cart at my pharmacy. Was embarrassing, but it helped not increase the soreness.

  66. Bonnie

    Just had 2 ingrowns removed from big toes. Surprisingly the shots didn’t hurt. The cold spray hurt alit. My podiatrist put me on antibiotics beforehand due too diabetes and I’m on blood thinner from strokes n heart attacks. He also prescribed me silvadine cream. Which is for burns. So I’m using that instead of neosporin. Shot site still really hurts and alot of itching. Everytime I clean they hurt worse. Wwondering why no one else has been prescribed the burn cream?? It’s to help heal from the burning acid

  67. Maria

    First ingrown toenail I ever had. Went to podiatrist an he did a basic removal, it was in the bottom corner on the outside of my big toe. It was slightly infected at the time of the procedure, he told me to do the Epson salt soaks twice daily but, it appeared to be getting a bit worse. So, he put me on antibiotics. I followed up with an office visit ad he said it is healing just fine. Only problem is it is not. It has been 11 days and I can still only wear flip flops. The lower corner where the ingrown part was is fine. It is above that, length-wise as the nail regrows across it keeps splitting the skin. Is this normal? Will it stop splitting? I really need to wear shoes again as the snow is starting to fly..

  68. Rachel

    I wish mine had been as easy as yours!! I had mine done on 11/21/14 and the pain afterward was 10+ on the pain scale. I had to call to get a prescription for pain meds…which didn’t work and two days later was prescribed a stronger pain med. I had both sides of both big toes done. I got 5 shots in each toe. The drs ended up having me keep my feet up for 5 days. It was probably my 8th day before I didn’t have to take pain anymore. The swelling in my toes was horrible to say the least. Even the joints hurt. The dr thinks I had a bad reaction to the silver nitrate used to cauterize the wounds and because of how many shots she had to give me. After having to keep my feet for so long when I was finally able to start moving around on day 5 the swelling went from just the two toes, all the way up both calves. By thanksgiving they had to prescribe meds for the swelling. Today is day 10 and all of the swelling is about 85-90% gone and today is the first day I can fully bend my toes due to reduced swelling. I’m still wearing flip flops in this freezing weather because I still cannot even handle the pressure of loose fitting slipper.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Ouch! Yes, that sounds more like my more recent surgery (had both toenails completely removed) and I was out of it for weeks and weeks.

      Even though it still hurts, I’m glad it’s getting better (albeit slowly).

      Just think, after this, no more weird toe pain! You’ve suffered this long, you can handle another few days.

      1. Rachel

        I’m now on day 20 and 2 of the 4 are part way healed. Still can’t wear shoes. Slippers are ok for about 15 mins then I have to take them off. No infection, but I did not expect it to take this long to heal. I’m soaking in epsom salt twice a day, then triple antibiotic ointment and covering. Really miss wearing shoes.

  69. Brittany

    Hi Tyler!

    I just got this procedue done a few days ago. I have no drainage and no swelling. I’m not even in pain! But, it smelled really bad the first two Times I changed bandages. I’ve been soaking it two times and day and putting Neosporian on it and wrapping It. Last time I changed bandages the smell wasn’t as bad. Could it be an infection? And if so, since the smell isn’t as bad, could that infection be going away?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You’re better off going by pain, not smell.

      Provided you have feeling in it and everything, of course. When it hurts, you’ll know.

      And if you think about it, and I know this sounds gross, but there is dying flesh around the wound. It will heal great and all, but the smell is more likely something like that.

      Good luck!

  70. Jared

    Yeah I had the minor surgery 4 times on both my big toes problem is Emergency Rooms and Walk Ins just numb you and pull the piece out to heal the pain and make it go away for the time being. But what happens is after a short period of time the nail grows back into the same spot and the ingrown comes right back. So I went to a specialist for the first time today cause the E.R. and Walk In were obviously not working out and he numbed me cut the nail down on the side and pulled the piece out put the chemicals in so the nail does not grow back. And they put my dressing on and sent me on my way and I have to say even after this little time I feel great like a pressure has been lifted off of my toe. So moral of the story do not go to Emergency Rooms nor Walk Ins. Look for a specialist they will get the job done trust me their great. Also the worst part is the numbing after that its smooth sailing from there. You don’t feel a thing.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Nice! Most of my procedures were like your last, but I always had to go back because my nail grew down into the toenail at the edges (meaning my nail curves instead of growing straight across).

      Good tip on making an appt with a specialist.

  71. Jay

    Had my left big toe done in May, pretty straight forward no problems no pain, November, 6th it grew back into toe, went to different podiatrist she numbed it cut it out but this time she killed the root it is only one side the outer on left foot,I had the really bad smell it was horrid I could not stand taking my shoes off and I am a plumber so smells don’t normally bother me. So I go back after a week it is scabbed over I had been soaking in Epsom salts putting Benadyne on it and neosporin it looks and feels awesome, Dr. Even said it is healing great it is further than she thought it would be. Dr. On check up cuts out scab digs around in it with a tool then scrubs it, now two weeks after follow up appointment toe is sore and red and draining, Dr said she cuts out the scab for drainage so you don’t get an abscess and that after the acid procedure it is normal for it to drain up to four weeks, well I am four weeks plus it does not seem to be healing. And I am super pissed at the Dr. For cutting out the scab and I was going to skip that appointment because it was healing great now I wish I would have.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The abscess greatly increases the chance of infection and it can only heal from the inside out.

      Takes longer, but it should solve your issue (I had pilonidal cyst form an abscess once, took nine weeks to heal).

      Still mostly pain free, though?

  72. GAV

    Hi mate, I wonder whether You could help me as I have had some horrible and strange problems with toenails recently. I had partial removal on 3 toes using phenol done 4 months ago. Apparently there is a 95 % success rate but I am in the 5 % group of patients as I have regrowth and will have to repeat the procedure. However,the funny thing is I have never had typically ingrown toenails, actually they look fine. My problem is that next to a toenail there grows a SEPARATE, single , splinter-like toenail which grows deep in the skin. There are loads of small strange looking pieces of skin around this toenail which my podiatrist called hangnails (???) Have You ever had a problem like that or was it just a typical case where edge of a toenail grows into the skin ???? Should I repeat the phenol procedure or do a more serious surgery involving removing part of the toe/flesh (Vandenbosch procedure) ??? thanks for Your help in advance

    1. Tyler Hurst

      This is what happened on BOTH of my big toes (my success rate was 93%, sounds like we’re in the 7% & 5% club) which led to this: http://tdhurst.com/ingrown-toenail-removal-surgery-infection/

      And my toes never “looked” abnormal either, it’s like they just grew straight into my skin, right in the bottom left corner (that’s on my right toe, if I’m looking down at it).

      I ended up having them completely removed. One sorta grew back in that same place, but it doesn’t hurt 11 months later.

      Besides the way it looks, I can’t think of any reason not to remove the nails if they hurt. I’ve had a pain-free year and I’m loving it.

  73. Zach

    Hi, I have had an ingrown toenail for about 6 months now. I have one on each side of my big toe. I went to a pediatrician and had one of the sides taken out. Big mistake! It grew right back. The shot killed! I am going on Monday to a podiatrist now to get both removed. I don’t know if I should get them permanently removed??? I am terrified. And I am even a teenager! It is really infected? Will going to a podiatrist be better? And how bad will it hurt?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Here’s my story on having my big toenails permanently removed: http://tdhurst.com/ingrown-toenail-removal-surgery-infection/

      Yes, I’d do it again in a second, even with everything that happened.

      To answer your questions:

      1. If this is your first, probably not a great idea to have them permanently removed. Try something less risky, like what you’re doing, first.
      2. The infection will go away and you’ll feel awesome.
      3. Go to a podiatrist if this first attempt doesn’t work.
      4. Mine only hurt, besides the infection, when the local anesthetic wore off that first night. It’s sensitive, but mostly pain-free.

      I WISH I had mine taken care of when I was a teenager.

  74. MacKenzie

    I have one as well on my left foot I wouldn’t call it in grown there’s just one part of the nail that’s sharp and when I even barley bump it talk about pain and advise

    1. Tyler Hurst

      See if getting it removed (trimmed) is an option. My toes were never infected while ingrown either, they just hurt all the time.

      Even sometimes just because they were covered by a sheet or blanket. I’m betting it was my too-tight basketball shoes, but I never really understood how to fix that until recently.

  75. Josh

    Hey Tyler..

    I had a ingrown toenail on my left big toe on outside removed for the first time 9 months ago..my toenail grew back but was ingrown again so I went back to see my dr and aw removed it again..she advised me that the roots needed to be burnt,I asked if she could burn them last time she removed the nail and she was afraid I had infection..she removed my toenail and put me on medication for infection..a month later I’m going back to have only my roots burnt..I’m use to the shots but does the acid they use to burn the roots hurt? I know she will give me the shot to my toe to numb but what should I expect? Will she just brush the acid on my toe or does she have to cut on my toe to burn the roots? I’m sure I’ll get to keep my toenail? Any help is appreciated

    1. Tyler Hurst

      No, the acid used to burn my roots didn’t hurt. The shots took care of that part.

      The acid is administered via a big, toothpick-looking stick. My doc just shoved it in where she could.

      Once the initial pain meds were off, your toes are probably going to hurt in reaction to it. Mine did, but only the first night. Be extra careful to stay off your feet right after surgery and sleep with your feet elevated. Good idea to have ice bags ready.

      Not everyone has an issue with it, though. But I did, but only for a few hours one night.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Does it hurt? If it’s not red and painful, and the pus isn’t yellow, it’s a normal discharge.

      Mine had what seemed like pus forever, but it was really just soft, very new skin.

  76. Kath

    Hi, I had my toe nail removed in April 2014, still not healed visiting nurse twice a week to have the dressing changed! No infection in the wound as I’ve had it swabbed three times!!! Nobody can explain what is happening and when it will heal.

  77. Ashleigh

    Hi I’ve had this surgery done today to both sides of my toe on both feet. Went fine but it’s 12hrs later and I can still feel numbness in both toes. Is this normal? I have poor circulation and it feels uncomfortable and haven’t been able to sleep yet!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That sounds like what happened to me 2 of the 3 times.

      Went from using frozen peas on top of my toes with my feet on the ground to laying with my back on the ground and my feet up on the couch for hours.

      The local anesthetic is completely wearing off. It’s going to hurt and it sucks, but it should go away in the morning. Take whatever painkiller (weed didn’t help me, though it did assist in me passing out after four hours of pain) you can find or just ice it.

      It will go away soon. If it’s still hurting when you wake up, call your doc.

  78. Dina

    Had the surgery done yesterday. Both big toes on each side. The shots hurt but they weren’t too bad (there’s worse pain out there) though after surgery that night the pain got so bad I became nauseous. I think it was the bandages, they were too tight. I just did the soaking procedure twice with water/triadine mix and so far so good. I had a question about Epsom salt and if I should do it or not? I had the chemical treatment done as well as the nails cut out. So I am not sure if it’s safe to use. Let me know! Toes still hurt but not too bad hopefully that is normal. Last question.. When will I be able to walk fine again? Let me know thanks!
    Dina. Dmazur3318@yahoo.com

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I did Epsom salt once a day, always. It stings a bit, but I swear it feels better afterwards.

      Usually I just wash in the shower or soak in the morning, then Epsom salt at night. After it stops oozing, you can discontinue the Epsom salt.

      I did make sure to get one without any aromas.

  79. Ashleigh

    Ok thanks still tingly and numb this morning rang the podiatrist and they said it’s most likely due to cold so have put socks on and trying to move about a bit more. The dressing is uncomfortable but can’t remove it or soak it till next week Tuesday when I have my redress appointment!
    How long would you say it took before it felt like you could walk normally?

    1. Tyler

      Yeah, make sure you stay off of it. I always tried to do too much and it got sore.

      I felt normal in about 3-4 weeks, but I was moving around felt a non-limping person after two.

      If you rest it early, it will heal much faster.

  80. StanBell

    Thanks for sharing your post. I also had this problem 5 years ago when I ran the marathon. I thought having the surgery was the most horrifying experience but I guess not, it was post surgery especially when anesthesia wore off, there was pain for weeks later. Thanks again and I also enjoyed reading your other posts. Keep them coming!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Good to hear you’re better.
      Yeah, even with all the pain and my infection after my final surgery (complete removal), it was totally worth it for my toes to not hurt any more.

  81. Dina

    So its been 6 days since surgery on my two big toes (ingrowns removed from both sides of each toe)my right one does not hurt I can walk on it and all is good. It still doesn’t look like its healed really but it does not hurt. My left one still hurts. Every time I step on it the bottom pad of my toe feels swollen and really sensitive. And even my nail itself feels like something heavy fell on it. Is that normal? I just hope its not an infection.
    Let me know Thanks

    1. Tyler Hurst

      First, if it hurts, stop walking on it.
      Two, that sensitivity was pretty normal for me. An infection will bring the pain into your foot, ankle, and start to creep up your leg and you’ll seriously consider amputation (you don’t seem to have this issue right now).
      Your toe may very well be swollen because it’s super-sensitive to being used.

  82. Henrietta

    Hi Tyler,
    Glad you’ve got your feet sorted out. My son is 13 and has had surgery 3 times. Twice on the insides of both big toes and once (so far) on both sides of the next toe on both feet. Each time he has surgery it’s about 6 weeks before he can do sports again and each time he’s healed enough to do sports another toe starts hurting.
    The first time he had his big toes done there wasn’t enough cut off, so 4 weeks later he had the same procedure again to remove more of the nail. This was June and July 2014. It messed him up for the last few weeks of school and he was all summer healing. He went back to school in September and started training with his football team again and it was only a couple of weeks when his little toes started hurting. He eventually had surgery on both toes, both sides, end of November. These are now growing back. It’s so frustrating because he has not played or trained with his football team for weeks. He went back to school after the Christmas break, did one PE lesson of football and now not only are the nails growing back but one of his big toes is really painful again but on both sides this time. It’s really getting him down as he loves football and is at an age where he enjoys his sports but since May of last year he hasn’t been able to do any and he is doing GCSE PE at school and is worried he is going to fail because he can’t do any sports because of the pain and is even talking about quitting his football team. I am constantly rolling up cotton wool to pack into the area between the toe and nail to lift the nail so it doesn’t go fully ingrown. We are off to see the podiatrist yet again on Thursday. Not sure where we go from here. He said he doesn’t want more surgery because the injections are so excruciatingly painful but then so are his nails. It’s so unfair as we see no end to this. Oh yes I forgot to say each time he has had surgery they also used acid to stop the nail regrowing (although unsuccessfully this last time!)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Oh man…that sucks. I also had three surgeries, on my big toes only, and then they decided to take them completely off.

      Had you experimented with different shoes? My problems stemmed from narrow cleats and basketball shoes.

      1. Henrietta

        Hi Tyler, thanks for replying.
        Yes we’ve tried different shoes. Yesterday I ordered some stuff off the internet for him…. Some gel toe caps and some nail softening gel. Not sure about these but we’ll try anything. I also saw something called a nail brace which is supposed to lift the nail edges to help stop the nails curling under. Have you heard of these? We’re off to the podiatrist later so I’ll run everything by her.

          1. Henrietta

            Well for school they wear uniform so he used to wear black leather slip on shoes until the podiatrist said slip on shoes are not the best. Now he has leathet trainers/sneakers with three Velcro strips to fasten them. For PE at school he wears Nike Tiempo as they were the widest trainers we could find and his football boots are also Nike Tiempo because they were also the widest. Out of School he has leather puma trainers….probably a bit more info than you required haha I’ve just come back from the podiatrist with him. She wanted to book him in for more surgery but he said he doesn’t want to go through it anymore especially as it hasn’t really worked so far. I said about the nail braces she said they’re a waste of time. So I’m not sure what to do next. She has said he can be sedated before the surgery to help which is an option but at the moment he is adamant he doesn’t want surgery.

  83. George Boult

    Hi, i had toenail surgery on both sides of each toe about 4 hours ago. At the moment my toes are feeling fine (the injections have worn off as well). I have had problems with my toes for around 6 months. Do you think this surgery will have ended my problems? By the way the roots have been killed.
    Thanks:)

  84. Dee

    Hi, Tyler. Thank you so much for pictures and so much infp. I just had partial nail removal and acid treatment on right outside big toe on Tuesdsy. Today us Saturday and there is still some bleeding on bandage this morning. I did some walking yesterday but am trying to stay off feet mostly. I cleaned the coagulated blood this morning with q-tip (first time since I saw you cleaned with toothbrush) while it was soaking in Epsom salt bath. I’ve been soaking once daily but think I will start 2X daily. Is it normal to still have some blood on bandage 4 days later? Thanks again for all information you share. I know it has helped many.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Very normal to still have blood. You want the wound to stay gooey (mine was about ten days before I started to leave bandages off at night to help it dry out).

      Careful with the q-tip, just use it to clean the excess stuff, no need to dig in there.

      Keep soaking, stay off of it, monitor pain and swelling. The bleeding/gooey part is part of the healing process and a good thing.

  85. Dee

    Hi again, Tyler. I keep coming back to your info and pics to compare with my toe. I was on my feet more yesterday since I had to get some things from the store due to the impending snow storm. Still some blood on bandage as well as this morning. Don’t really see much yellow/guey stuff. I am wearing a post op boot. Tomorrow will be 1 week since surgery. My directions were to soak in Epsom salt bath once daily 5-10 minutes (I’m doing it 2X daily 20-25 minutes) then clean with peroxide, dry and finally put antibiotic cream on and bandage. I stopped using q-tip . Just wanted to communicate the info with you since you have gone through same thing. It feels good to have someone to share with who knows what to expect. Thanks for any feedback

    1. Tyler

      Blood is normal, as long as it’s not gushing or causing pain, I was told it was completely normal.

      Surprised you were told to use peroxide, though. I was specifically told NOT to, because it killed skin that was part of the healing process. This likely explains why you don’t have any gooey, new skin yet.

      Good luck!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, even without toenails. Even while I was recovering, I still wore shoes and socks most days.

      The most painful part of wearing shoes and socks is the bandaging pressing on everything, so as long as you don’t get too crazy or wear super-tight-toed shoes, you’re fine.

      Nothing bothers me now, even toe shoes.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The first three times for me, was just the fragment.

      Fourth time was the nail.

      93% of people will be fine after removing a fragment the first time.

      Nothing you can do except rest it, nothing to worry about from your end as long as you stay inactive while healing.

  86. Hunter

    How long is recovery cause I play basketball and I’m worried about that the most and. Also on a scale of 1 to 10how bad was the Pain of the shot

    1. Tyler Hurst

      2-4 weeks. I played tennis at 1.5 weeks, but my mobility wasn’t great.

      The MORE you rest at the very beginning, the faster it will heal.

      SO STAY OFF YOUR FEET.

      1 being a soft punch to the arm and 10 being an open nerve in a sensitive spot on the body?

      6-7, but it goes away really fast. Just anticipate it, accept it, keep breathing, and it’s no big deal.

  87. Caroline

    I’m having this surgery in a month and a half. My podiatrist said I would only need a day off of work (I have a desk job), but I told her I was sick of my job and asked if I could have four days off. She said that’s the first time anyone has ever point blank asked for extra time off because they hate work, so she agreed after she stopped laughing. I thought I would be chilling on my couch for four days, not in pain, but reading this, I am getting a different impression. I walk a half a mile to the subway to get to work; do you think if I have the surgery on a Tuesday that I will be able to make the walk to the subway the following Monday? Also, I was planning to drive myself to and from the appointment, but do you think I should ask someone to take me? The podiatrist and her staff are acting like this is the most minor procedure in the world, so I have zero sense of what I should be doing. Thanks for your candid post and thanks for Amy advice you have!!!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The only real pain I had getting them trimmed was that first night. The amount I rested the first few days made a huge difference in the overall time to heal, so stay off it those first few days.

      You shouldn’t have any issue walking that far, provided you take care of yourself during those first few days and nothing gets infected (highly unlikely and trust me you’ll KNOW), to the subway, but pivoting hard or running trails/hills is a terrible idea.

      If it’s your left foot, you can drive fine. Right foot isn’t a great idea, but it’s definitely possible.

  88. Tyler

    Yes, that’s a good idea. Better to do that than have to walk super slowly.

    I can easily see someone using crutches for 3-7 days, depending on pain.

  89. Missy

    Reading over all the comments has made me more confused.

    So I was mainly reading up on these things as stupid me didn’t really check with my Dr about post surgery care. He said keep the bandage on for the next day and keep it dry then re bandage it myself that was the entirety of the instructions for post care.

    So far my experience… got just one toe one side removed it became ingrown from trauma to the toe. Have issues with the other side but it will fix itself when the nail fully grows out ( I lost the entire nail due to the trauma).

    So needles pain, well the pain was minimal it was more like swelling sensation then pain (none of that cold spray or anything just straight in with local). Local wore off about 6 hours later with occasional throbs (no pain just felt weird to feel the toe).

    So removed yesterday, no real pain at all today or yesterday… But supposedly mine is infected? As I’m on a new antibiotic which I have to take 4 times a day (6 days)… As the antibiotics that I was on prior to the surgery (2 times a day, 5 days x3) didn’t quite fend off the infection fully supposedly.

    But you guys keep saying if it’s sore it might be infected… no pain… and no one really seemed to mention antibiotics in the amount that I’ve had to take..

    Is my Dr just being over the top with antibiotics, or just being precautionary, or I just freakishly don’t feel pain of infections like I should.

    Plus how long should I wait before I run? I have work not tomorrow but the next day that requires running and fitness for sport the day after (plus meant to be running about 40km per week to help with fitness…) Dr really told me nothing and ready up on these things has made me think I’m missing so much info… / reminding me that I have a freak of a pain threshold, thank you pain threshold for not lapsing during this awkward time.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The amount of antibiotics prescribed totally depends on when the infection started. In my case, during my last surgery to remove both nails completely, I developed an infection AFTER the surgery.

      In your case, it sounds like you had issues going into it, which is why you need more (always take the full dose/bottle of antibiotics, or else you’ll just temporarily weaken the bug and it will come roaring back).

      I have a decently high pain threshold myself, but if it’s REALLY infected, you won’t be able to walk without massive effort and the pain will radiate up into your foot and ankle.

      As for the post-op care, 2x daily Epsom soaks for 10-15 minutes worked great for me.

      I won’t run while I’m wearing any sort of bandage, so you’re on your own for that one, but the more you rest, the quicker it should heal.

  90. Missy

    Well the Dr said I was infected due to the redness and swelling around the nail where it was digging in but I never had any puss or anything come out…. I’m just getting sick of antibiotics. But I know to stay on them the full time.

    But still no pain today so I’m hoping I’m all good.

    Though biggest pain in the ass was removing the bandage for the first time today, where my skin has like peeled off near the tip of the toe the bandage had like stuck to it but luckily a soak was all it needed.

    Hoping more people get similar removals like mine, I’ve had blisters cause more pain then what this has. Looking at it today minus the skin peeled off and the major wrinkles going on it looks more like a normal toe then it did before surgery.

  91. Erica Chenery

    Hi,
    Just wanted to clear this thing up. I have an ingrown toenail op next week on Friday for my left big toe. This is a massive problem as I found out today why it is a problem. I have a maths test the same day which I can’t miss, this also happens to be a day when the bus strike is going on so that’s difficult. Also I work on Portobello Road market the next day, setting up and packing up a stall which requires heavy lifting and being on my feet most of the day. What can happen if I do these things.
    Also, how do I keep the dressings dry.
    Thanks.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You’re probably going to be really sore doing all that, obviously avoid it if you can, but be absolutely sure to soak 2x daily with Epsom salt to keep everything clean. It will sting a bit, but it works.

      I used gauze wrapped in athletic tape (the stretchy, not the super heavy) kind and it was fine.

  92. Avril

    What a great site!
    I suffered on both sides of my big toe nails over the years, more and more – to the point where I worried about travel and who I could see in an emergency.
    I decided to go for deadening of the nail matrix (bed).
    I expected the op to be painful (but hell I’ve given birth a few times), but weighed up the benefits.
    Post-op, for 18 months I’ve suffered none of the ongoing pain I’d gotten so used to. I had a recurring ‘horn’ which is a little spike of nail which re-grew. When caught on bedclothes etc it was painful, but instead of continuing to clip it down, I decided to have this re-killed (is that a word?). The needle hurts like a hammer – but it’s for seconds! Relief is life-long. Don’t be afraid – my toe nails wouldn’t win a beauty competition, but no-one else notices that they’re a little slimmer, and best of all – I don’t think about them any more!
    This is the most informative post I found – many, many thanks

  93. Steve

    Got mine today… I have had my nails on the big toe removed 3 times till now in both feet! I did the surgery at 7 o clock and had both ends of the nail removed also some swollen skin was cut off due to bad infection.. it was black and smelled bad the doc stitched my toe in both sides ..its nearly morning and i still haven’t got any sleep due to severe pain and throbbing ! Also every time I get up I feel dizzy and if I don’t sit down I feel like I’m gonna pass out! Have anyone had that experience? I feel scared! Excuse my bad English! Thanks in advance! :-)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      OUCH, MAN!
      You need some better painkillers. Yes, I had that much pain when my left big toe was infected after my toenail was totally removed, but it wasn’t as bad as yours (not black, didn’t need stitches).

      My advice? Stop moving around. Your body needs to heal, man!

  94. Elizabeth

    No idea if this will get answered. I had the surgery about a week ago. My check up is Wednesday. I got the antibacterial pill and codeine for the pain. I did the soaking twice a day with betadine in it then drops on each side of the big toe and a band aid when soaking was done.

    Thing is betadine is now crusting on sides of nails where he pulled out the ingrown. Soaking it to get off only gets some off. What else can I do?

    Its still kind of sore and one toe (the whole toe) is still swollen but I think its from all numbing stuff he did.

    Please help! Thanks!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You can try Epsom salt soaks, but I wouldn’t pull or scrape the betadine off.

      Slight swelling and soreness is normal within the first 1-3 weeks. For me, it went from “kinda swollen and hurty” to “did it really hurt that much yesterday” really quick, like a switch.

      Be patient, stay off of it, soak 2x daily.

  95. Missy

    Holey shit…

    Woke up man
    Intensive itching to the match…
    I’m what a week nearly 2 weeks post partial nail removed and woke up in the middle of the night because it’s itching this badly :/. This is the worst annoyance my toe has given me with this entire thingo.

    Now what have others done to deal with this itching?
    I was scratching that didn’t help, ran under cold water, soaked in moisturizer. They give slight relief but not for long.

    It’s right along the side where the nail was removed so like along the base then all the way up to the top. Worried I’m going to scratch off the last bit of scab I have left to heal and create a problem (such as infection).

    Anyone with ideas? I really need sleep before work tomorrow.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Soak in Epsom salt. The itching means it’s starting to really heal, but it’s terribly annoying and it feels too deep to get at.

      But Epsom and then a almost-too-tight wrap helped me.

  96. Elizabeth

    Thanks Tyler. I’ll try that. I have been soaking them twice daily. I’m glad to know the fact its swollen is normal. I will try to remain patient.

    I was on my feet for some hours for work and had trouble walking but now i’m walking normal.

    Also for anyone who gets dry skin from the soaking try usuing cocunut cream. It has no perfume smell and works great. Just something that helped me.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Coconut cream (I use coconut oil, from the supermarket) works really well.

      Good connection with being on your feet all day, that’s usually the cause behind swelling.

  97. Darcy

    Hi Tyler,

    I had the procedure done 6 days ago and the nails feel great but I have some pretty severe pain in the toe where the shot was given. Is this normal? How long does it take for it to go away?

    Thanks so much for your posts, these are great!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Oh, yeah, it’s starting to kinda heal now. This pain sucks. If it feels better when resting or iced and gets worse if you walk on it, then only a few days.

      But if it hurts no matter what you do or starts to radiate somewhere other than your injection point (you’ll know), head back to the doc, as it’s probably infected.

      But, more than likely, you’re just damn sore and will be okay in half a week.

  98. Cody

    So I recently got this same procedure done about 3 weeks ago. Everything about it seems fully healed but the skin around the nail is still red and I was wondering if this is normal around this time. Other than this it does not hurt at all and doesn’t have any other problems. Thanks for reading this and replying if you do.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yep, the redness takes a while to go away. Eventually, you may see bubbles of dying skin as the layers that were killed during surgery (shots and/or acid) are pushed up and replaced by newer skin.

      Looks weird, may itch a bit, but all part of the normal process provided you still have feeling in that part and no pain (tenderness is also normal).

      1. Cody

        Ok, good to know. This website was great and gave me a good idea of what I was getting into. At first I was worried about the whole thing but this helped a lot. And thanks for the reply, it means a lot.

  99. Cheryl

    I had both toenail on both sides of big toe removed 10 days ago and it’s still nearly as red around the nail, especially at the base, as the day I removed the bandages. There is some slight swelling, too. The only thing I was told to do was to use Polysporon and bandaids after the first day. Soaking wasn’t mentioned. It is still hurting a little bit, nothing like the first day or so. Anyway, was wondering if this much redness and swelling is normal after 10 days? TIA for your reply!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The redness is normal, it may turn a few other colors as the dead skin is replaced by new stuff growing from underneath. Swelling, as long as it doesn’t hurt, was normal for me whenever I didn’t stay off my feet.

      By hurting, do you mean more sensitive to the touch? If that is so, you should be okay. But if it’s radiating, and it will hurt like a deeper pain of the first day, go back to the doc.

  100. Cheryl

    Sorry, I should have proofread before hitting Submit! I meant to say “ingrown” toenail removed. I didn’t have the whole nail removed.

  101. Nick

    Just wanted to post back as I had been on this site a bunch before the procedure yesterday. Everyone talking about how traumatic the shots were really worked me up. I fucking hate needles. They were almost painless for me with the numbing spray. I went right back to work after the procedure socks shoes and all. I wish I had gone a month ago as the piece cut out of my toe was the same size as the pictures above and really hurt. If you need to have It done go some place that uses the cold spray and don’t worry. There really is nothing to it. Also Tyler, great post bud super informative. Thanks for your time and effort.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Nice! Apparently not everyone gets the same numbing spray/needle treatment, so I’m careful to warn people.

      Totally wish I had done this earlier too, no amount of surgery-related pain hurt as much as ingrown toenails do.

      Best wishes for a quick recovery!

  102. Justagirl

    So glad I came across this! As I can’t go to bed (after 2AM) because of the horrible throbbing pain! Really! All people could talk about was how bad the shots are. Are they kidding me, that part was an breeze! It’s the post-op that no one gives a real description. I have had two c-sections; and was walking better 9 hours after those than I currently am.

    I had an ingrown toenail (which was infected) and some skin scraped away about 12 hours ago. Someone please ease my mind that this throbbing pain will decrease, oh in the next 5 hours when I attempt to wake up from the sleep I can’t get!

    I have taken two 600mg ibuprofen and that doesn’t seem to work that well for me. Maybe I need to find something stronger!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Your throbbing will decrease by morning (I alternated between icing my feet on the floor and laying on the floor with my feet up on the couch, while waiting for the aspiring and burned flowers to kick in, but they helped little) and, barring infection, it will never hurt this much again.

      Yeah, for my last time I begged for real pain pills. They helped.

  103. Mike Alvares

    Hey I had my ingrown toenail cut about 2.5 weeks ago and he cut out a chunk of nail and put black stuff on and bandaged it I put neosporin on it and it’s still swollen . It don’t hurt it’s still swollen should it still be like that I’m in school all day and I wear boots that fit good so idk please let me know

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, swelling is normal while it heals. That black stuff burned the root, so your surgical wound is deeper than you can see.

      It just gets sensitive because you’re using it.

      Keep it clean and if it’s done seeping, try leaving the bandage off at night.

  104. neik

    I think I have a ingrown toenail because I keep getting a lot of dead skin then there’s and indention in my big toe so I try to nip it with nippers and it does not help at all . I keep it oiled but then it get back dry. And when I’m playing my sports if I hit the toe on anything it has like a sharp pain

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yeah, you won’t be able to reach the part that’s actually causing the pain. I bet most of the people like us have and we just end up hurting ourselves.

      Go see a doc. They need to numb your toe and get the nail out from the root.

      Unfortunately, it’s not like pulling a tooth (well, maybe a broken or impacted tooth).

      But yeah, go in. It’s 100% worth it.

  105. lizzie

    If the toe in between nail and skin is already infected, can they still or wpuld they still do the surgery? or will they have to wait until the infection is gone? Cuz lOrd i am in soOo much unbearable pain.. the throbbing, i caNt sleep and im taking oral andtibiotics and putting the antibiotic mupirocin ointment. I cant waLk.. i went to work like this.. but i caNt miss school either!! thiS HURTS LIKE HELL THO.
    . MAnn its like im getting contraction on my toe!!!! Yoooo idk will the infection go away with all these meds im taking, or will i have to go to the er for them to drain clean and cuT??? oMg THE PAIn

    1. Tyler Hurst

      They numb it, the an infection shouldn’t matter.

      If it’s going to hurt, you may as well have it hurt from both the infection and the surgery at the same time. Gets over quicker.

  106. lanya

    Hello:
    I got my surgery done four weeks ago on my left toe. A week later, I went for my follow up and there was some blood clot since i was not soaking my foot regularly. My podiatrist poked around and drained the blood out. After that, I soaked twice a day religiously and went for a follow up a week later. I felt it was healing well and there was almost no pain, but I don’t know why she poked around again . I should have asked her, why she was poking around if it looked good and healing.

    After that, there was pain for a couple of days and was minimal in a weeks time. I ran 3 miles on treadmill. The pain is back and there is swelling around the nail. It doesn’t look like it’s infected, but it hurts. There is a constant pain around the toe. Did anyone experience this?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Healing takes longer than we expect, though I bet pounding your feet on a treadmill didn’t do the sore toe any favors.

      If you’re going to run when it feels better, try running a mile instead of three.

  107. Chris

    Great site! I am about to head back to the podiatrist on Tuesday. Long story short – about 18 months ago I had the ingrown part of my left toe removed and they used phenol to kill the root. Fast forward to about a year later – I went to a different podiatrist (I had moved cities) because I was getting some redness and pressure in the same spot.

    She said that the nail itself didn’t grow back but that it was some sort of callus/scar tissue that was causing the pressure. She numbed up my toe and basically scraped it all out.

    Fast forward six months to the present – the same thing is happening again! I made an appointment for Tuesday (5 days from now) to have this looked at and treated again. How annoying!

    Has anyone else encountered a recurrence of the pain but it not be from the actual nail?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, but only on my right toe. It was some weird combo of skin (which allowed it to grow quickly) and nail (which allowed it to grow into the skin), but the problem was solved (mostly) when my entire nail was removed.

      I still have two small indents caused by what I think is what you described and thankfully, they don’t hurt any more.

      1. Chris

        Thanks for the quick note! The problem is down in the very corner of the side where the nail was removed. The nail looks kind of “wispy” I would call it – like many thin layers on top of each other that you could almost “peel” if you wanted to.

        Until my appointment I’m hoping to head off any kind of infection or anything. Epsom soaks it is. I’m trying to refrain from “bathroom surgery” and poking around with a cuticle pusher, etc. I know that will just make things worse, but it’s hard not to.

  108. Austin

    Hi I had this procedure done to both sides of both my toes. I am 15 and I am currently a high school soccer player. I was 13 when the ingrown toenails started and it hurt.. I mean I have a pretty high pain tolerance being an athlete and all but they hurt like hell.

    I have believe it or not had the ingrown toenail removal procedure 7 times. My mother wouldn’t take me to a podiatrist because she told me it was my fault my nails got that way and that she wasn’t taking me to the doctor. Well seeing she couldn’t even touch the infected area without hurting me she had to take me to the doctor. Finally in the last month she was convinced not by me but by the doctor who we had seen 7 times that I needed to go to a podiatrist.

    I got the procedure done a week ago on one toe and 3 days ago on the other. The doctor put in 2 shots, one on the base of the top of my toe and underneath my toe, but he moved the needle all ways which was a bit painful. I have had so many shots in my toes that it didn’t even bother me anymore, I just told them to hurry up so I could go home. Everyone is saying that they are painful after the procedure and after mine I played a soccer game the next day. It was sore yes but I was so use to playing with more painful injuries so it didn’t bother me. So yeah get the procedure done it is about $200-300 for each toe. Ex least for me it was, but yeah that was my experience! Thanks for sharing yours get the surgery you will thank me and everyone that says so!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Nice! My bill was just under $300 per toe when I paid in cash, as that’s what the doc said she got paid from Medicare. Not cheap, but totally worth it.

      Make sure you take extra care to soak your toes and rest when you can, and change that dressing often if you’re going to be playing on it.

      Good luck.

  109. Trivy88

    First I would like to thank you for your post. I think more of this needs to get out there. I battled with my ingrown toenails for 3 1/2 years before getting this far and going for the surgery.

    My family Doctor was the first to attempt to fix my issue. He did a quadrant removal, which, did not get at the whole area and the ingrown portion grew back as predicted. Then I went to a specialist. The specialist saw me for about a year (every few months). He would do a wedge in the area that required the procedure. Finally I said enough is enough and I gave up.

    Time passed and the pain became unbearable. Putting on socks / shoes, pulling the covers over me all brought tears to my eyes. This truly is one of the worst pains you can imagine.

    By the time I decided to see another specialist my condition worsened. He booked me for the O.R. at a local hospital as he needed a few hours. Essentially I had the wedges removed from both toes on both sides (yes four wedges) plus the removal of the toenails from both Index toes. My recovery was no treat and the infection was just as bad as yours.

    Now it is March and everything is fine. My index nails have grown back completely fine, my right big toe nail is 90% grown back (normally) and my left big to is a little behind at about 80%.

    I want everyone to be aware of a few things. I thought my show size was an 11 but I was wrong. I got fitted and I am a 13 wide. We are almost all guilty of wearing shoes too small. Genetics also played a part. My mother has them, and my brother and sister are both developing ingrown nails now too. I am pushing for them to go but unfortunately their employers would not have a sense of humour about it. I needed two and a half weeks off and got no trouble from my boss. She was even pushing for me to get it fixed. I could not bear to wear dress shoes to work so I was the only one wearing jeans and runners in our office.

    Please, please, please give in and get this fixed if you are having any issues. All joking aside you could lose your toe / foot / leg if the infection gets that bad. “But how do I know if I have an infection? It looks normal.” Pour some peroxide on the toe, if it bubbles up you have an infection and need to see a Dr.

    Don’t be a fool like me. If you feel at any time your family Doc is incapable of handling the situation, see a walk-in Dr and ask for a referral. Make sure you explain your situation as to why you are not seeing the family Dr and why you are not asking the family Dr for a referral. Mine wanted to fully kill the nail bed. This means removing the nail and applying Lye onto the nail bed and this would result in the nail never growing back. I am not the most vain person, however I want to keep my nails if possible.

    Good luck to anyone with this problem.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Holy wow, I totally feel your pain.

      Good call on the shoes, I didn’t realize until late in life I had a wide foot. Explains my big toe and pinkie issues I’m having now.

      And yes, a specialist is ideal. I had a family practitioner rip a piece of nail out once (no shots, no nothing) and it immediately grew back.

  110. George Boult

    Hi, both of my toes have now healed however on my left toe i have this weird kindov bump in the inside corner. I was tild by the podiatrist that it shoukd just go away and it wa caused by the acid used to kill the roots. However i have now had this for about 2 weeks. It doesn’t hurt or anything, but I’m a bit worried about it. Do you know anything i can do to get rid of it?
    Thanks:)

    1. Tyler

      Is it red or white?

      I had multiple bumps, they went from red to white to yellow/green to white to gone, but it took almost six weeks.

      They never hurt, just took the skin a long time to grow back from the inside out.

      1. George Boult

        Thanks man.
        Now the bump has sunk down to the nail bed but somehow the nail wasn’t underneath. So now I have a weirdly shaped nail. Also the nail bed doesn’t look like nail bed, it’s weird. But I haven’t experienced pain but my nail is quite loose and it just looks odd. And the bump has gone from red to yellow to white to just skin
        Thanks

  111. Amy

    Ok…so my story has nothing to do with ingrown toenails, but I’ve been going through very similar things. A month ago I went to the podiatrist with a small bump on my big toe. It hurt a little. I never expected the doc to say that I needed to have my entire toenail removed right then due to an infection under my toenail. Um…huh?? You tough guys think the needles were no big deal, but that was literally the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I missed four days of work and then had a 10 day break in which I sat on my couch with my foot up. It’s been an entire month and still my toe is not healed. I soak it every day in vinegar and water (doctor’s orders). I went back yesterday and the podiatrist said there’s no way this should be taking so long to get better. I still can’t wear a shoe and I limp around all day at my job. She wants me to see a hematologist to see if something is wrong with my blood. Any thoughts or experiences with longer healing processes? I am not a couch potato kind of person and this has just about pushed my winter depression through the roof!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Oh man, that’s terrible. When I had both my big toenails removed and one got infected, it was two months before I could do anything besides walking/shuffling.

      Is your toe showing any kind of progress? Mine took forever, but I could definitely see it slowly getting better.

  112. Keri

    I had my partial nail removal 7 days ago. First few days the soaks hurt a lot then they got better. Then I started cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide and pain seemed to get worse when I soaked it in epsom salt. I have had some seeping clear light yellow and some redness around the nail bed. Still having pain on and off. I stopped soaking it because it seemed to make it hurt more. So mow just cleaning with soap and water and colloidal silver topically. Should it still be seeping fluid this long??

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I was told never, ever to use hydrogen peroxide, but the Epsom salt did sting. Though it always felt better in the morning, I dreaded the soaking, too.

      Soaking helps accelerate the healing process, so stopping it may be why you’re still seeping fluid (though it’s normal to seep for 2-3 weeks).

      Any pain radiating from the toe?

  113. Julia

    I had this done 4 years ago to both sides of my big toe and now it is not growing anymore and most of the nail is missing. It looks awful and I wish I didn’t get it done on both sides of my toe. Did this happen to anyone? I would like my toenail to grow out but it doesn’t seem to want to grow at all. Any recommendations?

  114. jesse

    Tyler i just got this prosidure done yesterday at a clinic
    My question is how long till the numbness goes away right now it hurts alot feels like a burn sensation
    Also it would not stop bleeding so i went today to the clinic to get it wrapt with ant ointment but before that he stopt the bleeding by sticking to sticks in there im just scared i don’t feel my toe and its been a day already

    1. Tyler Hurst

      First, welcome to the first step in a better life. The pain, while at times excruciating if you’re unlucky like I am, is worth it.

      If those sticks were first dipped into some acid, it was used to cauterize the wound, which would make it numb and burn a little while longer.

      You can move your toe and stuff, yes? Give it 2-3 days (a weekend-ish) before worrying. Do your Epsom salt soaks (even if it stings) and add whatever ointment/dressing the doc recommends.

      But if it’s still hurting on Monday, make a doc appt.

  115. Maria Espinoza

    Wusses!!! (Just Kidding!! – READ… BEFORE you get Upset!!)
    I had this done .. three ?? weeks ago.. and it HURT!! … Podiatrist did BOTH big toes @ same time!! HURT like HELL! … I felt BOTH shots in BOTH toes! Wanted to watch, but NOT allowed to… he said,, “NO, I don’t want you passing out!”
    And I was being silly when I said Wusses! It hurt, but .. I walked around afterwards … in their yucky, clunky, ugly “shoe” things!! Yuck!! Went to work and talked to bosses .. didn’t think/know procedure was going to be so intensive!! Was told to stay home, but scheduled to work that night.. until 11:00 PM!! Was told I could stay home, but I like my job (and need it!), so I went in… Wearing Tennis shoes!! 3 hours on my feet at the register.. and that was it! Co-worker said, “If it hurts, go home.” I turned around to help customers.. and LOST it… Not sobbing, but I teared up. 3 hrs… and I couldn’t take it anymore!! I bought some Epson salt, peroxide, gauze, Chocolate! called a taxi, and went HOME!… Worth it, but believe me.. P.A.I.N.!! will be with you the next two weeks or so!! Take your antibiotics, pain meds, Rest!! ((… and this is 3 weeks after having a cortisone shot in my right food! Believe me , there is NOTHING worse than that! and I’ve had 3 severely sprained ankles and two broken ankles (same one!), so I KNOW P.A.I.N.!!))

  116. Martha

    Hi Tyler,
    Got a question for you. I had a toe nail surgery 5 weeks ago. It was partly removed. Today It is still red and a little bit swollen and it is sensitive . If someone steps on it it’s not fun at all. And I noticed there is a white stripe on the side of the nail where it was cut. It’s kind of weird and does not look healthy. It wasn’t there before. And the skin is kind of tough around the nail. Do you think it’s normal? Doc said I didn’t need to soak in Epsom salt. So I basically did nothing. May be that’s why it’s healing forever.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yeah, the white part is just your skin adjusting to a new nail shape. It’s dead skin, but you can trim it if you want.

      Yep, skin will be tough as it develops a callus.

      I would think not soaking it certainly contributed to a longer healing time, but I’m not about to question your doc.

  117. tracy

    Got both sides of my big left toe done today. My doc sprayed cold on my toe before the shots and i did not feel a thing. About an hour after the procedure i felt pressure and some throbbing. I took an ibuprofen. My doc said to keep my foot elevated today and that i could switch from gauze and bandage to neosporin and bandaid tomorrow. Im not in much pain right now. The only thing that is bugging me is the pressure…im wondering if the bandage is too tight…i can still feel some throbbing. Any advice?

  118. Jazkubs

    I just had this done a month and a half ago. I still can not bend my big toes all the way. Does this also happen to you? I also get like weird piercing pains once in a while when I flex my foot. I let mine go way too long and my doctor said I was close to loosing my toe. Yuck!!!! I just wanted to know how some people’s toes are doing months afterwards.

  119. Martha

    Thank you for sharing your story Tyler. My story is like so many others posted here. Makes my decision to remove entire nail a little easier. Will admit I am a little aprehensive. Going on vacation at the end of May and hope I am healed and ready to play in the sand!

    Did anyone ask to keep the nail?

  120. Mrs Smith

    Hi, are you still replying to people posting on here? I had surgery 6 weeks ago to permanently remove part of an ingrowing toenail. I’ve had the last 4 weeks off work due to getting a bad infection in the open wound. 2 courses of different antibiotics later and the infection is still there although not as bad as it first was. How long is the healing process as I was told by my podiatrist it would be 6-8 weeks to heal. Mine is till not healing and the new skin splits every time I walk on it. I’ve just started using an antiseptic cream on it and put a plaster over it. I’m due to return to work next week an my job role means I am constantly on my feet throughout my shift. Can you give me any advice please as how to help the toe heal properly. Many thanks.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I used wound dressing and a bandage during the day, soaked it morning and night in Epsom salt, and either replaced the bandage at night or let it go bare if the wound was no longer seeping.

      Infections suck and really extend the healing time. I was out 7 weeks because of ONE round of antibiotics, so your diagnosis doesn’t seem odd. Good luck and stuff though, try to stay off your feet!

  121. Tiff

    Just had mine done yesterday, but pulled the nail off completely. My first idiot doctor pulled off 2 thirds of my nail but didn’t realize he left any. After 3 days of pain I realized the ingrown bit was still there so I had to go through the procedure twice in a 5 day period. My second doctor was by far better. The shots are the worst part, my dear children. They were worth it

  122. Sue

    I had the right side of my ingrown toenail cut away six days ago. I’m doing well, I think. Looks good. Seems to have no infection and it doesn’t throb, I’m not in pain, except when I soak in Epson Salt. My question is, how long do I keep up with the twice a day soaking? I can’t find the answer in any part of the instructions my dr gave me, and I don’t go back for another week for my post op. Thanks for your site!!!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Twice day soaking until it’s no longer seeping.

      After that, leave bandage off at night and soak 1x day.

      That’s what worked for me every time except once that wasn’t my fault.

  123. Millie

    Hi I had a removal surgery on my right big toe 8 days ago, and they permanently removed it by using acid. My surgeon told me to just make sure I keep it dry, but I’m going to have to get it wet sometime soon so when should that be? I can’t wear an enclosed shoe for another 2 weeks (because he said the moisture can infect it) so I would think the same applies to water but it’s looking pretty gross with lots of excess blood, (I got the bandages removed yesterday and I was actually pleasantly surprised that I still have most of my toenail) thanks!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I soaked my toe in epsom salt/water twice a day.

      I believe the idea is that it shouldn’t stay in a wet, enclosed space (bandaged in a shoe), but cleaning it was okay for me.

      Check with your doc first, though.

  124. Chantel

    Thanks for the info.

    I had the permanent procedure done on both sides of my left big toe 9 days ago. I had throbbing pain for 2 weeks prior to that, even when the podiatrist said there didn’t appear to be excess ingrown nail to be removed. Since the pain persisted, she did the permanent procedure last Monday, 4/6. I have had intense throbbing pain since. It throbs even when I’m sitting with it elevated. I went in a couple days ago to make sure there wasn’t a further issue, but she said it wasn’t infected. That’s great, but the throbbing has not subsided and I have severe pain when attempting to wear a shoe which is obviously required for work. I soak in Epsom salt daily and put adhesive bandage on. My doctor said not to use antibacterial gel as it clogs the pores. She now had me start iodine to dry out the area.

    Any feedback or suggestions? Maybe I have an issue beyond the ingrown toenail procedure causing the throbbing, but my podiatrist basically had no feedback for me on that. Thank you!!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Infection and/or a piece of nail that didn’t make it out would by my guess, but sometimes people just don’t heal all that quickly. My healing time varied from less than two weeks to a little over six.

      If you’re still hurting, there’s something (nail or infection) where it’s definitely not supposed to be.

  125. JoAnn

    I had a severely ingrown toenail, it hurt so bad, I was sure it had to be infected. On Friday I had partial toenail removed. Doctor said it was pretty bad and deep, but there was no infection. Once the numbness wore off, the pain was, (and still is) horrendous!! Nothing is helping the pain. Any idea when it will begin to ease?

      1. JoAnn

        It’s where the incision is, and where I got the shots to numb my toe. I’ve tried Advil…Percocet…Vicodin…nothing helped.

  126. Adriana

    I had this surgery done 2 weeks ago. My doctor gave me Amerigel and stated to keep bandaged until morning and then after shower wrap back up. I still have some drainage and it looks all red and peely. I was wondering how long did you leave your bandage on for? Also how many times did you soak your feet? Im wondering if the post op instructions from my doctor were no good. Thanks =)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      What I did:
      Soaked 2x daily for 1-2 weeks or until wound stopped seeping.
      Then soak 1x daily, leaving bandage off at night (about 1-3 more weeks).
      Then I started to use smaller and smaller bandages.

      Drainage is good. Red and peel-y is okay. Radiating pain is not.

  127. Adriana

    Thanks for the reply!! I did not have any pain as the doctor shot “air” on the injection sites first to numb the skin, so when the injections went in I felt NO PAIN at all. Also, when I got home no pain and the first week no pain. Then on post op appt 1week I went in and this stupid tech got what looked like cuticle cutters and cut a piece at the bottom corner off. (THIS FREAKIN HURT) I can’t use band aids (allergic) so I have to use Coflex, my question is since she did this I have had pain/redness/seeping/and very sensitive on the nail to the touch. (I had the chemical so the nail wont grow back in the corner. When I leave it uncovered at night in the morning it feels much better but then when I wrap it and wear the bandage on the toe I can almost feel the nail moving. I have not soaked only done the amerigel 1x a day. I am thinking maybe I will the soak, from what I have read this seems to be the norm. Can I ask you one last question, How long did you leave covered during the day and two, did you have more soreness as the second week came about. Then toe looks like I have a bad sunburn on it with all the redness and peeling. in the mornings when I wake up from leaving it uncovered there is a little bit of a hard scab. This this happen to you? Thanks for all your help, Im just freaking out because I do not want it to look grody when it heals. I do not know anyone that has had this done but im getting impatient, its almost 3 weeks on Monday and toe looks the same. ok ok im really done this time….thanks again.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The sunburn look is normal, as your body is healing from the inside out (those shots and incisions went deeper than you’d think).

      For soaking, I used Epsom salt. 1-2x daily, likely just once before bed in your case.

      Yeah, the nail will feel weird when wrapped. Just protect it, not much you can do about that feeling.

      Full recovery, meaning the wound is completely healed and has zero pain, takes longer than people think. It was two months for me, though after five I considered myself healed.

      Also, don’t worry about anything being “grody.” Scabs, pus, some weird bubbling (dead skin, you’ll see) is all normal. Only if it smells or has increasing pain should you start to be concerned.

  128. Lori Ann

    I just had both sides done on both big toes. And boy am I paying for it! The first time I had it done was in December and just one side of each big toe. My question is how do I ease the pain?! My left big toe is still bleeding is it supposed too?! I was given antibiotic drops 2x each wound 2x a day. And I’ve been following orders but do I dry them before putting bandages on them?! Am I doing something wrong? My toes are rock hard but hurt and burn badly. Woke me up out of a dead sleep this morning.

  129. LoriAnn

    The rock hardness is going away I think it may have been from the shots? He had to use extra as my body absorbs the anesthesia extremely fast. But the blood isn’t gushing just covering the bandages. I’m soaking in lukewarm Epsom salt 2x daily :-)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I would call that “seepage”, not bleeding. That’s normal and just part of the healing process.

      The rock-hardness could definitely be from the shots, they go deeper and cause a bit more damage than you’d think.

      I also had extra shots on one toe once, and it hurt for a few days.

      1. LoriAnn

        I’m beginning to think it is. I’ve decided that it was finally OK to get them wet and shower also I was and still am in pain and can hardly walk 90% of the time as it hurts to walk. I was told I needed to wear house slippers everywhere so I’ve been wearing them Lol.

          1. LoriAnn

            So today while doing my ritual I noticed my left big toe hurt worse than normal. I squeezed it a bit because it was hard and a lot of fluid came out. I’m not sure if it was infection or just seepage? It had some blood in it and was REALLY runny. Could it have been my toe started healing during the cleaning process and sealed some of the antibiotic drops in it and I just squeezed it out?!

          2. Tyler Hurst

            Yep, blood and clear fluid was normal for me, part of the healing process and considered seepage.

            If the liquid turns yellow or green or the toe starts to throb or hurt, then you can worry.

            Sometimes cysts can develop in large, open wounds, the fluid/blood is trying to fill it up so it doesn’t get infected. Drain (squeeze, don’t poke or prick), soak, and bandage!

          3. LoriAnn

            I think it may be starting an infection. Its got a green tint to the fluid and it hurts like no other. I keep squeezing out fluids and wiping clean with a clean tissue I’m only supposed to be doing drops 2x daily with 2 drops in each wound. The drops barely go into the wounds though :-\ am I doing something wrong? He layered all 4 corners this time so I’m not sure what to expect look out for or do Lol….

          4. Tyler Hurst

            Does anything hurt besides the toe? Until you can feel the pain up your foot and into your leg, your body can still fight it off.

            I’d guess that a cyst has formed and the meds aren’t reaching the infection, but I’m not a doctor so please don’t take that as real advice.

            Make an appt, don’t wait and try to suck it up over the weekend like I did last time.

          5. LoriAnn

            No just the toe and thankfully I have an appointment Wednesday they are only open Wednesday and Thursday. I’m going to keep soaking it and putting the drops in and bandaging it. And wearing my fuzzy light blue slippers Lol.

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