Ingrown Toenail Removal Surgery & Infection (GRAPHIC IMAGES) (NSFW)

Tyler HurstBlog323 Comments

***WARNING***

THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES. PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU’RE SQUEAMISH

If you’d rather read about a more successful ingrown toenail trimming story, read my previous from almost three years ago. That was my second surgery, the one you’re reading here was my fourth.

After three visits to two doctors to try and save both my big toenails by trimming the edges, my Portland podiatrist recommended the nuclear option: complete removal of both toenails, along with acid-burning the cuticle to prevent them from growing back.

After three shots in each toe, refilling the needle and three MORE shots in each toe, the extraction began, as shown in the video below.

Yeah…gross, but I didn’t feel a damn thing. Next the doc dipped a big toothpick in some sort of acid and shoved it into the cuticle, from left to right. I didn’t take pictures because, well, it’s a big stick inside my toe and I couldn’t see anything. The imagined pain was worse than anything else.

Next, the doc wrapped up my toe with instructions not to unwrap it for about 24 hours, and then after that, soak it in Epsom salt and/or the shower twice a day. I gingerly slid my shoes back on, turned down the doctor’s painkiller offer, and sorta limped home (this was stupid and me moving so much would come back to haunt me).

The next day, which I refer to as day one, I soaked my feet and took the following pictures.

Day1 1

Day1 2

Day1 3

You’ll notice my left toe seems a bit more torn apart than the right. Remember that, as this will matter later.

I was expecting a ton of pain by this point. I could barely walk, but I was determined to keep moving around, so I waddled on the outsides of my feet often.

Day 2 was more of the same. Still not much pain, but my toes were very, very tender.

Day2 1

Day2 2

Apologies for the weird angles, I was trying to balance while holding my leg up on the sink, which is tough with one bad foot, let alone two. Still no problems.

Day 3 was a different story, as my left toe started to feel way more tender than the right. It was more painful when soaking, hurt to flex it, and was a bit stiff. I made an appointment with my podiatrist and asked for pain pills to get me through the weekend. Here’s Day 3, in the morning:

Day3 1

And my right toe:

Day3 2

It was especially odd to see the gouges on each side of my toe, where my nails had grown down instead of out. Seeing as how my toes have hurt much of my life, this makes complete sense, but I never had any idea how bad it really was.

Day 3 hurt more. It was a Saturday, so I did my best not to move while my wife waited on me, but the aching wouldn’t go away. I kept to my soaking and bandaging routine, careful not to move much.

Day 4, the Sunday of the NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, had my toe aching even more, but downing twice my pain pill dose helped. Sadly, that left me with one pain pill to use that evening during the game. Here’s the morning of Day 4:

Day4 1

Compared to my right toe below, my left toe above looked different. There was something covering the red skin, which I assumed was new skin or the beginning of a scab.

Day4 2

My right toe also looked much “juicier”, instead of swollen.

That night, I made a huge mistake. Because I think I’m tough and that pain won’t bother me, I downed my last pain pill and walked/dragged my left leg two blocks from our parking spot to my buddy’s house to watch that football game. Every single step hurt, as I couldn’t put much weight on my left foot. I declined my wife’s offer to be dropped off closer to the house because I’m stupid. Anyway, I spent the game in agony, as every time I clenched or celebrated, my left toe hurt again.

That night was awful. I tried cider, liquor, wine, Tylenol, and nothing worked. Every movement in bed hurt my toe, as the pain had started to radiate into my foot and ankle. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t move, and couldn’t distract myself. When I woke up on Day 5, my toes looked like this:

Day5 1

Actually, my right toe looked pretty good. Little bit of gross, skin-like stuff, but the wound cleaned easy. My left toe, however…

Day5 2

…now looked infected. Note the redness and pus, as well as the fact I couldn’t move without nearly crying out in pain. It was so bad I almost laid in bed and cried. Thankfully, my wife stayed home from work and drove me the two blocks to my doctor.

The walk to the car hurt. Being in the car hurt. Walking less than 100 feet to the podiatrist hurt. I was still worried that I was just being a pansy about the pain, as my doc said she had never 1) had toenails grow back like mine did over the previous year and 2) never had a patient’s toe(s) get infected. Something like 7% of toenails grow back and fewer still get infected, so I was more than slightly worried I was just a wuss.

Annnnnnnd infection confirmed. Doctor was surprised, apologized (totally wasn’t her fault), and wrote me a script for super-strong pain meds with antibiotics. She wrapped my toe back up and my wife drove to the pharmacy.

Upon arrival, I wised up and requested my wife drop me off near the front. I also took pity on myself and asked the greeter for access to one of the carts for the handicapped, as I couldn’t hop or limp the 200 feet to the pharmacy counter. While I could have just had my wife pick up the prescription, I worried we’d have trouble, as the pharmacy had phone my doctor the previous time to make sure I wasn’t an addict forging prescriptions.

Man, did I feel like an ass in that cart. Scooting along at maybe 2mph, I couldn’t help but imagine everyone was staring at me with contempt, as a healthy-looking, somewhat athletic, not-old dude puttered along. The real embarrassment came when I realized my cart had a back-up siren, which startled me so much at first that I bashed my left toe into the front wheel. After what seemed like forever but was only 15 minutes, we had snacks and drugs in hand and were on the way home.

The painkillers didn’t help much. I gobbled down two every 2-3 hours day and night, as the pain was so intense I couldn’t sleep, sit, move, or read without it hurting. Day 6 is next:

Day6 2

My right toe was looking pretty good. Healing nicely.

Day6 1

Buuuuuuuut my left toe was still infected. The doc said it would take 2-3 days for the antibiotics to work, but I was worried I’d run out of painkillers before then. You know that feeling when your foot falls DEEP asleep and then comes back with pins and needles? The pain felt like that, except the pins and needles felt like they were piercing my skin. It was not a happy time.

Day 7 seemingly had my left toe regressing.

Day 7 1

While my right kept on healing.

Day 7 2

Saw the doc again later on Day 7. She gave me more, stronger, pain meds, told me it was time to apply iodine at home, and wrapped me up. Oh good, now I get to touch my horribly painful toe more often! Here’s my left toe before, then the iodine packet, then my left toe after application. Also, my right toe’s skin was starting to get all loose on Day 8.

Day 8 1

That gross infection look had started to come back.

Day 8 2

My very own swab sticks. One-time use only.

Day 8 3

Oddly, touching the wound itself didn’t hurt at all. My toe, joint, and foot ached, but the iodine was no big deal. Whew.

Day 8 4

Go right toe! You’re my favorite.

I was still on painkillers every hour I was awake and double dosing at night to fall asleep, which sucked because they made me dizzy. (Pro-tip: cannabis counteracts this, though I chose not to pursue that option).

It had now been over a week and I started to wonder if I was going to walk normally again.

Day 9 wasn’t much better, though the terrible pain had subsided substantially. Thank you antibiotics!

Day 9 1

Pinkish instead of reddish, which indicates progress. My right toe looked far worse than it felt, as the healing process had super kicked in. Note all the dead skin around where my nail used to be.

Day 9 2

Crazy to think my nail was actually embedded in my skin. What kind of idiot puts up with that for 30+ years?

Day 10 brought more of the same and you can see, on my left toe, the patterns of the bandages.

Day 10 1

The aforementioned left toe:

Day 10 2

I assumed the new growth was a response to the infection (apologies for the out-of-focus pictures, I swear they looked good when I took and checked them). Day 11 showed more obvious improvement:

Day 11 1

And now my right toe skin started to get really flabby, meaning it was almost time to leave the bandages off at night to let wound dry out:

Day 11 2

Side note: I once had a callus on the outside of my right big toe (you can sorta see it above) so deep that I caught it on a concrete block anchoring a buoy while playing in the Columbia River at low tide (caused by the dam). Sliced the callus clean off, didn’t bother my toe a bit. There’s no reason you need to know this.

12 days later, I was still getting some seepage, right where my cuticle used to be:

Day 12 1

Little rivulets of blood, nothing to worry about. I though about squeezing it, but I was worried about hurting it again.

Day 12 2

But hey, not much pain. Day 13 brought lots of dead, flabby skin on both toes:

Day 13 1

All the white or yellowish skin was loose, like a blister from running shoes. Trimming it was an option, but meh.

Day 13 2

My bandage needs had really leveled off at this point. Minimal seepage and pain allowed me to get away with simple non-stick pads (buy the big ones and cut them) with heavier duty bandages during the day.

I neglected to take pictures on Day 14. There is no reasoning behind this.

Day 15 brought more ugly, dead skin in more danger of falling off. I also started only bandaging my left toe at night. My right dried out pretty well.

Day 15 1

All the white-ish skin you see is loose and dead.

Day 15 2

All the reddish-pink is gone! Screw you, infection. You sucked.

Day 16, more dead skin and the healing of where my toenail dug down into my toes.

Day 16 1

Bottom right of my left toe, above, is where you can see that divot.

Day 16 2

Similar to my right toe. Geez, no wonder my toes hurt all the time, even if they weren’t infected.

I stopped taking pictures at this point, as I was no longer worried about infection and honestly, there wasn’t much to show that didn’t look like a normal wound. At just over two months, my toes looked like this:

60ishDays 1

Still a slight divot on the bottom right and left here, as some sort of nail/skin hybrid grew back. It’s not deep and doesn’t hurt, so I dismissed it as just a troublesome spot.

My previously infected left toe looked better:

60ishDays 2

Pretty clean heal there!

I hadn’t worn any bandages for weeks, but was still protective of my toes. I was running about two miles a day and had zero problems even playing softball and sprinting full out. But around that time I discovered what it felt like to stub your toenail-less toe on a table…

…and it didn’t hurt much. Seriously. Sure, I felt it and was bothered, but that horrible, fall-on-the-ground and then limp around pain didn’t kick in. Why not? I assume because it’s really the toenail being pushed into our tender cuticles that hurts, not the actual toe stubbing.

My toes were still sorta sensitive to being stepped on, but no more than they were with nails. Touching it did feel weird, as did pushing the nail bed area into the ground while doing ballet-style toe stretches. But it was more of a sensitivity than a pain and didn’t affect me at all.

At the time of this posting, it’s been nearly eleven months since I had this surgery, infection, and recovery. IN that time, I’ve run almost 900 miles, completed three quarters of a marathon, and jumped/ran/played tennis/sprinted/kicked a garbage can and just about everything else I could physically.

Happy to report things are only getting better. Here’s what my toes look like today:

Month11 1

My right toe didn’t heal totally clean, but I don’t care because I never have to worry about it anymore. No pain, no digging, no sensitivity.

Month11 2

My left one healed better and like my other, is fantastic now.

While I’ll never win a pretty toes competition and my family still thinks they look a little weird, I’m definitely happy with my decision and am glad I no longer have to make trimming my ingrown toenails a yearly doctor’s visit.

If you’re on the fence about this, the only reason I can think of not to do it is if you’re super worried about how your toes will look. I’m just as active as I was before, though this time I have no pain afterwards, and it’s a relief never to have to worry about when my nail will grow in wrong again.

Here are the products I used and how I used them:

Amerigel Wound Dressing Tube, 1 Ounce
Apply directly to wound 2x daily until seepage stops, then mornings only. I was told not to use Neosporin until the wound was small enough for a bandaid, which was about two weeks. The only time I used Neosporin right away, I developed an infection, though there were contributing factors.

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, 20 Ounce
Mix with warm water and Epsom salt in bowl, soak toe at least 1x daily before bed until wound closes (2-5 weeks), ideally 2x daily until seepage stops (5-10 days).

Dr. Teal’s Salt, Detox, 3 Pound
Mix with warm water and baby shampoo in bowl, soak at least 1x daily before bed, for 2-5 weeks. I’ve found that soaking in the morning is more pain than its worth, and the evening soak really helps with pain overnight.

Curad Non-Stick Pads, 2 Inches X 3 Inches, 20 Count
Cut these diagonally and use to wrap wound. Bandaids work okay, but tend to be overwhelmed easier by ointment, seepage, and general sweatiness. You can get the regular ones to save a few bucks, but be prepared to rip your scabs off if you do.

Ever Ready Self Adhesive Non Woven Cohesive Bandage 2″x5 Yards Pack of 12 FDA Approved
Don’t bother with the bigger wraps, paper options, or reusable stuff. It’s a pain in the ass to have to worry about. These self-adhering bandages, when paired with non-stick pads, make for a far better protected area. If you need to use the whole pad to cover the tip of your toe, this tape can easily be extended to wrap that area, too.

J.CROW’S® Lugol’s Solution of Iodine 2% 2oz
After seepage stops (5-10 days), apply once daily either directly or as drops in soaking bowl, in the mornings. Can be used at night to dry out seepage, but I like this in the mornings and Epsom salt at night.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to try and answer them below.

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Tyler HurstIngrown Toenail Removal Surgery & Infection (GRAPHIC IMAGES) (NSFW)

323 Comments on “Ingrown Toenail Removal Surgery & Infection (GRAPHIC IMAGES) (NSFW)”

  1. Debster

    Wow have seen this surgery 6 times now. When your toes stop hurting its a freaking miracle! Good job tyfor your info

  2. Gerrianne

    My big toes have been infected for a few months now! I have type 2 diabetes and in scared to go to the doctor I don’t wanna be put in the hospital! My husband is a marine so all expensive will be covered but I’m scared! How long was recovery? Both of my toes are red, swollen, sore to touch or even wear tennis shoes. Will you ever have a toe nail again? Help idk what to do or where to start

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Recovery is 3-6 weeks, depending on how well you stay off your feet and rest.

      I understand your fear of hospitals, but every day you wait, the worse it’s going to get.

      Go! Go to your doc! It may be as simple as an outpatient procedure (most of them, and all of mine, were) and you’ll be done and home.

      Go!

          1. Jose

            How long did it take cause I had ingrown toenail surgery 11 days ago and redness on the side and bottom is still there won’t go away I been doing the salt and water and antibiotics cream every day. I need your help.

          2. Jose

            No pain if I touch it yes but it’s like purple and red like a bruise I don’t know if that’s normal

          3. Tyler Hurst

            It was normal for me.

            Remember, you did have a doctor shoot numbing meds into your toe, cut and rip out a nail, and then cover it up.

            The discoloring faded for me, but keep an eye on swelling and pain (or numbness, which is just as bad).

          4. Tyler Hurst

            I don’t understand what you think you’re waiting for.
            The discoloring is your body healing.
            If it doesn’t hurt and it’s not numb, it’s unlikely that there’s anything wrong.

          5. Emily Brown

            I have a question about what you were calling the whitish dead skin…. I am having drainage from wound site I had both nails done and cauterized, but I’m confused if I’m supposed to be attempting to wipe this drainage away, but looks like what you described as dead skin. I soak my toes and put silvadene cream and wrap them like instructions say but the drainage appears like skin and hurts if I actually attempt to clean it all out of the open wound area. I dab it up and wrap it. Hope that makes sense. I’m only a week out. Thanks.

          6. Tyler Hurst

            It’s dead skin, new skin, and some combo of nail/skin.

            If it hurts, I always left it alone. When I could, I clipped the edges to make sure it wouldn’t catch on anything.

            If it really is dead skin, and at a week out it definitely was for me, it sounds normal. I had used a toothbrush to clean out the wound area (once), but I didn’t try too hard to remove skin, and I’m not sure if it really helped anyway.

    2. Melissa

      Dude go to the podiatrist right away. Believe me I waited and it got super bad. It was pussing and it smelled, also it was very sore and I couldn’t touch it without being in pain. The procedure isn’t bad at all, I had my boyfriend there with me for comfort and it made things better. Once I got that toe nail removed I felt so much better. Waiting around is the worst thing you can do. Don’t be like me and wait so long, especially since you have medical insurance. You’ll be fine, I wish you luck 🙂

  3. Martha G

    Tyler,

    Thanks again for sharing your story. I mostly appreciate your photo documentation of your healing. A week and a half ago I had one big toenail removed with the chemical burn. Zero pain, including the infamous injection. I’m also taking toe pics every day.

    There seems to be very little information online about this procedure and recovery. So thanks for being one of very few resources. Any suggestions on how I might share my story as well?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Great! If you want to use blogspot, tumblr or wordpress.com to publish a blog post, I’d be happy to link to it.

      But you’re right, not much out there.

    2. kevin

      i didnt have time to worry about the removal of both big toenails, because the first removal station i went to said he could see me in an hour-they had a cancellation, several week wait otherwise- okay , they gotta go, both are tube shaped going almost into the bone, and ive been “enjoying” them in steel toed boots for 40 years – the 4 little shots felt like 4 mosquitoes , i needed one more shot because of a rare extra nerve he said – i dont have diabetes yet but edema and was nervous – keeping covered and triple antibiotic on them , is nice to not have them stabbing me while i walk now – triple antibiotic cream has a painkilling element in it too, my favorite-

      1. Tyler Hurst

        High fives!

        Soak, change bandages, and stay off them as much as possible.

        I know what you mean about tube shaped. It’s weird for the tucked-in sheets at the end of my bed not to hurt my toes anymore.

        1. kevin

          its been 6 weeks now, ive seen posts concerning infections and resulting antibiotic pills-no posts indicating antibiotic cream- i hate antibiotic pills, they are indiscriminate and kill billions of good stuff in the body- my Dr. said any over the counter triple antibiotic cream directly on affected areas (cuticle to cuticle) is the “cats meow”, and keeps the growing of new scar skin healthy and timely .-
          epsom soaking, topical triple antibiotic cream , and bandaids till they quit leaking (sorry for the word), pus – i almost have to relearn walking without “wobbling” because the nails not poking anymore – triple antibiotic cream, folks! zero infection, happy toes-
          @ 6 weeks mine are still leaking, so i need to stay off them, and continue the 15 minutes epsom soaks ) and continue with the triple antibiotic cream

  4. Jenn

    I just finished reading a previous blog of yours and them stumbled on this. Sorry to see you had to have them fully removed. After a VERY BAD pedicure over a year ago, I cannot take the pain on both sides of my big toes any longer. The embarrassment I have very time I go get pedicures to try and manage this has also become unbearable. I am terrified of toe surgery and I truly thank you for sharing your stories. I will be calling a podiatrist tomorrow.

      1. Muriel

        I am due to have this procedure done in 2 days time. I am terrified of getting an infection as prescription medication doesn’t agree with me. I also don’t want to take strong painkillers either. Do you know why you got an infection? Can you recall how long it was before you could wear shoes /trainers? Have looked at pics but not video too scared. Thanks

    1. kevin

      its not a big procedure, and the little needle feels like a mosquito bite- and im THEE biggest scaredy needle cat

  5. Asia

    Omg finally someone to show and give detail. I got my big toenail removed 3 weeks ago and last week it started painin a lot. I feel like it’s a nerve or something. It’s yellowish thick squishy skin on top of where my nail is suppose to be. When I touch it it doesn’t feel like much just throbs. I want to take it off. Should i?

  6. Muriel

    Hi Tyler. Can you tell me how long after the procedure you were able to wear shoes and do you have any idea why you got an infection? I am having both toenails removed this week and dread getting an infection as I detest prescription medication. Thanks

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Two weeks and I got an infection because I moved around waaaaaaayyyyyyy too much during my first few days.

      Also, it was my fourth surgery, so I’m sure I was a little irresponsible in taking care of my foot because I took healing quickly for granted.

    2. kevin

      over the counter triple antibiotic cream -antibiotic pills are no fun , killing everything in sight- some creams include a pain killing agent too – ( the Rite Aid version has Pramoxine HCI as a pain relief agent)

  7. Keida

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this. Well, I just did mine yesterday. Only one toe cuz I’ve had the other done since 10 yrs ago, never came back cuz the dr removed the nailbed.
    So they cut off 1/3 of the nail plus the nailbed. I still have nail in it. The dr told me yesterday not to open it till 48 hours after surgery. I’ll go in for cleaning and changing. Thing is, I’m terrified cuz I had the same proc don in December and it never got better. When I went in yesterday, he said it’s because previous dr didn’t remove the nail bed, just the nail, I’ve seen 7 months of hell.
    This is the second time and I’m trying to do what the dr said, not move and stuff. He stitched it too, 3 stitches. I’m hurting again it’s like beating pain. Trying not to take many painkillers. Last night which was the first night post surgery, only a voltaren 100mg suppository could help me to fall asleep. Pain pain …
    I’m hoping it will heal properly this time cuz I’m exhausted from pain

  8. Deedra

    I only had one removed, but not permanently. It was two months ago and the first few days were terrible, with no pain killers and just tylonal every two hours, three at a time. It didn’t however make the pain stop. It could have been that I am not able to stay of my feet due to the fact that I am a mom of three and my husband works from early morning till late at night. Anyway like I said it has been two months and it still oozes and has terrible looking scab. I still cannot where shoes with closed toes. I doesn’t hurt though, unless someone steps on it or I kick something. When I left the doctors office I was told not to sock it at all.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Hmmm…that’s a long healing time, but you’re right in that not staying off of it will prolong the time needed.

      Do you wrap it with gauze and wound dressing during the day and leave it unwrapped at night? That worked for me, but only after it stopped oozing.

  9. Wendy

    hi I had both my toe nails remove a year ago from ingrown toe nails on one toe is scab how can I get this off as it’s not nice to look at

  10. Sharon J.

    Help !
    I had my right big toe, toenail removed with the chemical to burn the ends or so that my toenail will not grow back again !
    I had this to nail removed last August and it grew back ingrown. Any way the post op says for my to soak my foot in warm water with Epson salt the day after surgery…! Omg, omg…I tried last evening and the pain was excruciating ! !! It felt like my foot /toe was on fire…I rinsed it with plain water and it was if someone put hot sa use in an open wound !
    It swelled up big time and I was ready to go to the ER…It finally settled down enough for me to bandage it back up and I put ice on the bottom of my foot.
    I don’t know why this happened ? ! I will call the Dr today . ..the pain is driving me nuts…I can’t walk , correctly , or even wear shoes…any advise ?

  11. Alisha

    three days ago i had both of my ingrowns removed from both big toes. I was numb for tbe first two days so i didnt feel anything. I kept both elevated as much as i could. Today is day three an sp far so good. Tho i noticed that my left toe is spre, almost lime i still have the ingrown. How long before that nerve stop sending that pain sign? I also have pics as well but not sure how to share.

  12. Alisha

    Hey sharon i had the laser done on mine to, but my doc gave me amerigel. I dont have to soak at all just used the first aid cleanser then applued the cream an then wrapped it. I will say tho the first two days my toes felt like they were on fire. But doc says its from the laser an the heat did go away. However, if your in pain id see a doc.

  13. anne

    Just an update. Went to doc and indeed my toe was infected! On antibiotics now. Another warning sign of infection is the toe being hot to touch compared to other toes and redness spreading beyond the wound. Mine made no progress with healing and kept oozing and bleeding 9 days along. Not sure why it happened as i was extremely careful and did everything they told me. Hopefully will get better soon…. Tyler how long did your infected one take to get better? I seem to be on a different trajectory now. Any additional tips for an infected toe after surgery? Thanks again for all your help!

  14. Alisha

    Well here i am 9 days later. So far my healung is coming along nicely. I have been siaking in warm plain water once a day as my cuticles are sore . No more drainage but very itchy an slight swelling. My neighbor an RN told me to use peroxide on tbe cuticle to draw put any debri as its been raining an flooding alot recently an haed to keep my feet dry. Anyone else done this?

  15. Keta

    Hi Tyler,
    Thank you for all this information. Your pics are great and I can compare mine to yours to gage the stages my healing is at.
    My story, I had both my toenails removed on Monday 03.08.2015 (UK way of writing date as that’s where I am). My pain started soon after the surgery once the anaesthetic had worn off. All my toes, souls of my feet just about every part of my foot was in pain, to the extent I wanted to throw up. My daughter (the Angel) had taken me and stopped to pick up food and mess for me. The advice given by my Poditrist was to keep my feet up, take some paracetamol and rest. I popped a microwave meal in, made a cuppa and took two soluble paracetamols ( the ones with caffeine) and slept for a few hours. On waking I felt ok so decided to start to tidy up – not a good idea. It was only for a few mins but I learnt early that standing = pain. The next day bought seeping of reddish/yellowish fluid each time I walked. The advice given over here is to leave bandage on, keep toes dry, just add more bandage on top. The Wednesday (05.08.15) I went back for my follow up appt where I had the bandages changed and toes redressed. Nurse said healing looked good and I needed to keep it dry for the next 3 days. Then start bathing in warm salt water. By that evening seeping had returned,even though I kept movements to a minimum. By Thursday afternoon the fluid was leaking through the additional bandage and was very sticky Pain had returned, although nowhere near day 1, it felt like the pain you get when your feet have been frozen solid from snow and was thawing out, to the ladies reading this- pain was like the one you get after wearing tight heals and dancing all night ?. I called Poditrist one option was to go see them or GP next day. In the end I went to my GP Friday morning (7.8.15) who gave me a course of antibiotics, which I started immediately. Having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I know I cannot take the risk of having infection set in. The GP did not change my bandage – I did that myself – ended up having to soak foot with menolin dressing still on in order to loosen it from my toe bed.
    My toes seems to have waves of pain whether I’m sitting or standing. The seeping has stopped though. I will be changing my dressing again today (Sunday 9.8.15) so will take pics then. I go back for my 2nd follow up visit on Wednesday 12.8.15 and can see what they say.
    Thank you again Tyler, especially for the time line and pics. Your toes look great ?- hope my ones turn out as good as them. Ladies I’ve been told that you can still put nail varnish – so I’m looking forward to that?

      1. Catherine

        The doctor only told me to elevate my foot the first day. Nothing about staying off it. Sent him some pictures of it and he called in a prescription for antibiotics. It’s been 10 days and the twice daily Epsom salt soak still burns. Thank you for posting your pictures. I now have something to compare to.

  16. Irene

    I had my ingrown toenail removed from my left foot (Big Toe) Friday Aug. 14 2015. I was very nervous and before the doctor started I asked him if he could make it so my toenail will not grow back. He said yes he could but it’s a much bigger deal and in looking he didn’t think it was necessary in my case. I felt disappointed saying how I have even as a child suffered and as a senior I’m done with this. Again the doctor said the nail should come back in and be in good shape. Well for starters it didn’t want to freeze on the side I had so many times operated on it at home. Doctor said there was a lot of scar tissue due to my operating on it over the years. Finally it’s froze and doctor says now he’s convinced this nail has to be gone for good!!!Says this is the most sever case of ingrown toenail he had seen. The procedure took 1/2 hour and I left the clinic with my toe heavily bandaged with Elastoplast bandages. The toe nail had to be removed in pieces. I asked then why my toe was hurting so bad and doctor said because of the chemical he had to use. I didn’t sleep all night it didn’t just hurt it throbbed and I do mean throb all day to day as well. I was told to keep it covered and Do Not get it wet. I have to be at the clinic Monday Aug 17 at 5:20 PM. OMG talk about painful. This toenail had better Never grow back or I may turn ugly. This is so painful and it never quits. I did finally rest my foot on an ice pack. I froze my foot and the dam toe still ached. I tried elevating my foot all night I tried sleeping in my chair I tried it all. Not Pretty. I really find it confusing why I’m having so much trouble, many others brag how easy this was. I’m happy for others because I sure would not wish this on anyone,

      1. Irene

        Thank you for your response. I have had a few of very painful days. I am happy it’s done that’s for sure.

  17. jennifer

    hi
    i did my in growing nails surgery last thursday it is almost 4 days from now after the surgery. but 2 days after surgery i went back to the hospital and they did the cleansing only, i didnt feel anything and in my four days now still i feel numb but the thing or the problem here my toe is swelling, swelling like anytime it will explode,. what will i do?

      1. Irene

        Oh Yes my toe did throb for 8 days before the pain was bearable . I was amazed to know that my pain really wasn’t on the outside of my toe. I held my toe in my hand and I could literally feel the throbbing from the inside and yet the outside of the toe was only tender as you’d expect. I am bathing my feet once a day starting the fourth day after surgery using a foot bath with warm water and dettol . The dettol in the water has stopped any chance of infection. I did finally wrap ice packs around my foot. Yes the ice did reduce swelling but did nothing for the pain. I had the surgery on Friday Aug 14 and yesterday and today have been my best two days. (Aug 31 today) I have not been walking around much at all. I am a retired senior so thankfully I didn’t have a job or children to care for. I’m not sorry I did this I have suffered more than 60 years but thank God I’m on the mend. Best Wishes and Thank You.

    1. Irene

      You know what makes an excellent ice pack is mix a little bit of rubbing alcohol with water then fill a surgical glove with this mixture tie the top with a tight knot and freeze the glove. You will find that you have an excellent gel pack freezing. It comes with trial and error to get the right mix but keep in mind it takes only small amount of rubbing alcohol. Good luck. I strongly recommend you bath you foot once a day using dettol in the water opposed to Epson salt. Dettol was used in hospitals for many many years and it protects against infection.

  18. Elizabeth

    I got my toe nail removed from an infected ingrown toe nail . I was wondering , when can I put my toe in Epsom salt??

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I was told to leave my bandage on until the next night. The I soaked in warm water and baby shampoo, changed my dressings, and soaked in epsom salt the morning after.

      So about 36 hours. From what I understand, the Epsom salt promotes healing but is tough on the area, so waiting for surgery trauma to die down and doing it once a day is enough.

    2. Irene

      I wouldn’t bother with Epsom salt. I used dettol in my foot bath and soaked my feet once a day. You won’t get infection as long as you use dettol and it doesn’t hurt to use it.

  19. Irene

    I wouldn’t bother with Epsom salt. I used dettol in my foot bath and soaked my feet once a day. You won’t get infection as long as you use dettol and it doesn’t hurt to use it.

  20. benard k.

    i went through a procedure on my right toe due to an ingrown toe nail. its three months now and part of the wound is still not healed. its really disturbing coz pus and blood comes out when i press it and any time i wear closed shoe its more painful. i took antibiotics but still it doesnt change. am wondering what would be wrong with the toe

  21. Anna

    I’m so grateful to have come across your site. I can’t say thanks enough for the information and the pictures and the other comments. I finally feel a sense of relief. After nearly ripping my toenail off September 8th while on vacation (it had to be removed at the clinic later that afternoon), I had to fly back home on a 4-hr flight, then drove myself to work the following Tuesday, September 15th, and it’s September 20th and I’m still whining about the discomfort and sensitivity. To read that 2 – 3 weeks is not “that” unusual for relief helps me to feel less crazy! I don’t have an appointment with my doctor until next Monday so I’m changing the dressing daily and putting triple antibiotic ointment on it, and really being gentle with it. After reading your post though, I think I should let it air out a few hours a day, but the nurse said it was okay to keep the telfa Band-Aid thing and dressing on it. Regardless, THANK YOU!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You’re welcome.

      It took me six week before I could job again after having my big toenails removed.

      My wife says I’m pretty tough, so I’ll tell her about you.

  22. J White

    Thank you for documenting this. I just had my toenail removed because the portion of the nail had died. I’m now worried it might be infected because, I was doing quite a bit of walking like you did as well and I’m starting to see some yellowing. I don’t know what it is, truthfully. It has been about 4 to 5 days since the surgery and there is still a little pain in the evening after walking.

    Based on your info, I think I’m going to get it checked just to make sure. Thanks again.

  23. Corrie

    Hi, I had my procedure done on Sept 23rd amd was given very different instructions from you & everyone else that’s commented, which makes me very nervous!
    The doctor told me to keep the bandage on for 48 hours and then I was told to keep it very dry and if I was able to be in a clean environment to leave it undressed. They didn’t tell me to soak it or dress it and to be honest my toe looks like a zombie’s toe. I wish I were able to post a picture to get some feedback because I’m not sure if that’s normal or not…I’m not sure if the doctor cut the nail bed out either, I was not told. It’s too tender to try and wash it off if it’s dried blood at this point. I am getting some yellowish discharge from the wound but I’m not sure if it’s infected or just healing. I feel like the best decision would be to go to my family doctor and get it checked out because I have type 2 diabetes and have to be very careful about infections. One thing I was good about was staying off my feet with my foot elevated. I have been able to do that since I got the surgery and am able to continue to do that until Oct 1st. Thanks for posting this information as I too am in the dark on how my toe is supposed to heal, feel, etc…

  24. Ashley

    I got both my big toe nails removed this Tuesday and it burns everytime I soak them in Epsom salt and water and they look to have yellow puss on them ??

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Normal.

      Unless the pus gets super thick or the pain radiates up the leg, it’s successfully fighting off bacteria and such.

      You’ll know it’s infected when it hurts to move your leg at all.

      1. Kristina

        Hello, I just got my big toe surgery yesterday. I thought the doc would take the whole nail off, but he only took out what was digging into my skin, and he put a string swab inside/ under my skin to soak up the infection. I took off the bandage today, ripped out the string, and I’m terrified that it won’t help my toe at all. It just looks worse than before the surgery. Do I wait a few days and keep soaking and bandaging it, or should I call the doc up right away? Thanks.

        1. Tyler Hurst

          It’s going to look weird for a while, that’s normal.

          Keep soaking and bandaging it, try to not worry about how awful it looks (soon you’ll have blister-like spots near the cuticle, they’re because the deep skin is repairing itself and pushing out the dead parts), keep it rested/cleaned/soaked/bandaged, and go to the doc if you feel pain without direct contact.

          It took two years after my first “trimming” before my entire nail needed to be removed, and that sucked (I had both big toenails removed at the same time).

  25. Jackie

    My daughter had just a section removed from the side of her big toenail and then deadened at the base of the nail. As soon as the numbness wore off, the injection sites began to hurt immensely. This was just 2 days ago and now her foot is swollen and her toe is really red. The injection sites are still horribly sensitive and she said it feels like the bone hurts. The doctor said she’s never had any of this happen and she’s had kids go right out and play soccer. I find that really hard to believe. I’m taking her back in tomorrow morning, because I looks infected. The doc says that it takes more than 2 days to get infected…. I don’t know.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      This happened to me the second and fourth time.

      The second time it was just a reaction to the surgery (lots of cuts were made).

      The fourth time it was an infection. Can she feel it up her foot/leg?

    1. Jackie

      I took my daughter in yesterday. One of the problems was some type of an allergic reaction to the lidocaine. We’ve been doing Epsom salt soaks, ibuprofen and Tylenol 3 and she’s doing much better. Also Polysporin instead of neosporin. Ditch the neosporin. There’s something in it that doesn’t work well with a lot of ppl.

  26. Bryanna

    Hello, I had some of my toenail removed about 11 days ago due to ingrown toenail and infection. Yesterday, I was on my toe almost the whole night and now this morning the pain is unbearable. Is this because I walked on it so much or is it something I need to get checked out. It hasn’t hurt like this before now so I’m curious as to what to do. It hurts so bad!! Thanks in advance

    1. Tyler Hurst

      If it hurts right at the toe and doesn’t radiate up your foot/leg, it’s just sore from you being on it so much.

      But if it’s radiating (moving your leg at all hurts), it’s likely infected and needs a doc.

      Good luck!

  27. pratique

    Hi !
    I did my both toenail removal surgery 10 days before it looks yukky still fluid drainage no tough pain at all but today suddenly see that left toe nail which I thought already tried to heal much better way than the right toe has fluid which is greenish but right still has reddish fluid drainage I am a type 2 Diabetic and they only put me on oxcycodin as I see a greenish fluid I already took a appointment for tomorrow morning but as I saw all your pictures its so clean and clear as the time by but mine is from day 2 I was advice to keep in the open air its draining and try to dry and its piling up really worried.

  28. Les

    Hey Tyler,
    I must say, as with everyone above, a massive thanks for the write up.
    I had surgery on both big toes just over two weeks ago.. It went well until I played out one night like an idiot thinking they were well on the way to healing…

    So, my right toe is the hero, like yours, but the left toe is a villain!
    Not immediately the day after, but in the late afternoon, my toe had enough.. I was in absolute screaming agony! It seemed no matter if I walked on my heal or my full foot I got excessive pain. It was the type of pain that would make you cry.
    I tried taking cocodamol (I usually use for my back) to take the edge off the pain, to no success. I had this crazy pain for over a day and a half.
    The pain has subsided, but recently ( a few days later) I noticed a pain around my cuticle area and a yellow substance gathering in the general area. This worried me when I put two and two together, yellow gunge and pain to me says infection. So I bathed my feet in warm water and wiped away the “skin” and gunge that had grown over.

    Now I am in two minds, go to the doctor or try and wait this out?

    I feel like my toe has gone back to square 1 and I really really need to get back to work ASAP!

    All advice appreciated,
    Les

  29. Russell

    Tyler, Thank you very much for taking the time to document your surgery. I Took my foot out of the Peroxide & Water as soon as I saw your recommendation!

  30. vicki

    Have to have my right foot nail removed. How long before I can expect to be up and working as I have no sick time

  31. Jackie

    My daughter’s toe is finally starting to heal after a couple of months. It looks terrible and the skin keeps peeling off of her toe, but it’s finally starting to dry up. I really swear by the Epsom salt soaks and at a certain point, we stopped putting polysporin on so it could dry up.

      1. Jackie

        They claim it always heals fast, and they’ve never seen this happen before… Yeah right!!! Everyone I talk to seems to have similar experiences.

  32. Averi

    Hey, I know this is way late, but I just had part of a toenail removed 3 days ago. My toe feels like its on fire and is very raw to the touch. The doc said it wasn’t infected but I can’t even wear shoes or socks! How long will that last?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      2-5 days.

      I rotated between sitting on the couch with ice on my feet on the floor and laying on the floor with my feet on the couch.

      The less you move, the quicker it will go away. But yeah, it sucks.

  33. Lisa

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I came on your site looking for pictures showing me if my toes were getting infected, but you assured me everything was on schedule; including still having pain. This as been a process, but it was so worth it. I am happy I made the decision to remove permanently. I have had bad toenails all my life and finally at 53 years of age I had them removed. I have never worn a pair of sandals because my toes were so bad. After I finish the healing process I will buy my first pair of sandals and wait for summer so I can put them on.

  34. lori

    Weii I had my toenail the great toe nail completely removed I couldn’t wear shoes or boots and my big shephard steeped on it. So last high after the shots wore off I cried like a baby so today I went back to podiatrist pain..lousy gait..so they gave me tramadol it helps some..my next toe will be done in one month thanks for all the great info !!!!!!!!!!

  35. Jade

    I have an ingrown toenail and I am probably getting it removed today but I was wondering will my toenail ever grow back?? I really like painting my toenails and I don’t want it to never grow back. 😥😥😰

  36. Sheila Shiflet

    Hello Tyler…I had partial nail removal on my left big toe. I had both sides of the one toe done on 11-12-15. I almost cancelled the appointment because deer season opener was on the 15th and I was going hunting. I was assured that I would have no problem walking on the 15th. The first 24 hours the Dr. said to leave the bandage on. Then I was to soak it twice daily. The first few days it throbbed, but I assumed this was normal. On 11-21 I noticed redness along the left side with swelling and puss like substance coming from where the nail used to be curled and super red all along the cuticle and going down 3/4 of an inch down past the cuticle, plus puffy and very painful. Of coarse the Dr. is out of town until two weeks after Thanksgiving. I am using peroxide to clean it twice a day and using triple antibiotic ointment. I leave it to try and dry out for a few hours everyday. I got my 8 point buck 3 days ago. Do you think I should go to the ER. I have no other Dr. and could use some pain meds. I am forced to use a cane right now so I do not have to put too much pressure on the foot. I felt blessed when I found your site here. Can you please tell me what you would do in my position? I am aware that you are not a doctor but you have been through this before and I would respect your advice. Thanks so much and have a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Stop using peroxide, use Epsom salt and warm water instead.

      Redness/puffiness is normal, as is the pus. It will be tender with pressure, but you’re not infected until you can feel it up your foot and it becomes painful to move at all.

      I know you’re not going to like hearing this, but hunting on a bandaged toe was a terrible idea. Only extends the healing time, as you’re stressing it ou.

  37. Sue

    Hello Tyler,
    Interesting to see your photos and read your story. My big toenail was removed 13 days ago WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. I said NO to complete removal –just wanted the side done because it grew back. I didn’t know until that night that he took off the whole nail. Anyway, my toe doesn’t look anything like yours. It is all black along one edge. The rest is varying shades of dark red. I have been soaking in Epsom salts once a day, and leaving it uncovered as much as I can. It was doing ok for a while. Then I thought it was infected, so I used peroxide and then neosporin and it got better. The last two days I haven’t had any weeping, except tonight after the Epsom salt bath, it started weeping again. Do you think I should quit soaking it? I have no intentions of going back to this doctor. In fact, I may sue him. I am wearing sandals and a sock with the toe cut out. No way I cam wear a shoe yet, and it is winter here.

  38. Chris (UK)

    Hi – My wife forwarded your experience to me. I had my right big toenail removed, also “magic” grow-no-more acid, on 11/11. Now 24/11. The podiatrist said that some people play soccer the next day!!! Also saying that they will feel pain, and have blood in their boot, but it’s OK (!). I can’t go out, as I can’t get a shoe or boot on, too tight because of the dressings, it’s wet weather, too. Severe cabin fever. Last week I had a different sensation than what I have been experiencing : v.sore, sole of my foot “spongey”, top of my toe, above the wound, felt like needles going in from both sides intermittently. Went to docs’, said that it sounded like gout. (Taking Cocodamol every 4 hours.) All I needed. Erythromycin prescribed. Still so sore, esp. when getting up at night. Drinking so much water/juice/green tea to flush it through. Back to podiatrist on 1/12. I never expected so much pain/discomfort/disruption. Thanks for all your info.

  39. Carrie

    Thanks for the picture story. Really helpful. I had big toe nail removed on Weds 11th Nov. Kept foot elevated as instructed. Relatively pain free and went to have dressing replaced after 48 hours on Friday. Looked OK and told to soak in saline on alternate days. On Sunday toe aching more and getting red as well as being quite oozy. On Monday changed dressing after one day as oozing and spoke to doctor on phone who said to leave and see how it was on Weds. Started a weeks course of antibiotics after seeing him on Wednesday. By Friday toe generally better but nail bed still oozy. Continuing with alternate day dressings. On weds 25th went back as planned to see podiatrist. She was surprised it was still so gooey. This time iodine applied (and given some to take home) and to carry on with saline soaks. Need to go back next Thursday 3rd Dec to ensure on right track. Put trainers on and went shopping yesterday (Saturday) successfully with no ill effect. Generally not painful, just when dog stands on toe. Hopefully on the upward path now after 2 1/2 weeks and worth it!

  40. Sandra

    11/30/2015 I got the toenail surgery today. .right foot ..only had the side cut out and the chemical kill. The podiatrist said I could soak it in Epsom salt tonight but my paper instructions say tomorrow. ..I’m confused at this point. ..also starting to feel the numbness wearing off. Question is…should I soak tonight after having it removed today ?
    I also have Dettol that a friend of mine sent me from Australia but it looks most likely a hand sanitizer.
    I’m in the states so not sure how the Dettol works for soaking
    Thanks for sharing your story !!!

      1. Sandra

        I’ve been soaking twice a day. Not much pain after the first couple of days but I notice there’s a red spot right above my toe , could this be infection or is it normal ?
        I notice some pus …or it looks like pus to me , but when I dab it after soaking it doesn’t come off. .im not in any pain though

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Red spot is normal. You might have some skin peeling at the cuticle too.
          All normal reactions from your body.
          The pus-like stuff is just dead skin being pushed out. Nothing to worry about.

          No pain is good. Heal well!

  41. Kmart

    Hi Tyler,

    Thanks so much for the very informative post. I also had my 2 big toenails removed, but not permanently on 11.16. I was feeling depressed for the first few days until I found this page and it made me somewhat feel I was not alone in my misery. I pretty much suffered the same issues you had, my left toe got infected at week 2 (it was not diagnosed/confirmed by the doc but it looked way worse than your infected toe pic- I had yellowish discharge, throbbing pain and swollen, which I dont have in the other toe — so what I did was I put Bactroban cream twice a day after the epsom&betadine soak, then after 3days the wound has dried up and a scab has formed- saved me a trip to the doctor’s office! 😀

    I have read in the other forums that scabs should be avoided as it delays the healing process but I figured it was better than seeing an open wound so I just let it be and went on my regular cleaning process of soaking with epsom and betadine (no more than 10mins) then applied Bactroban, I also stopped wrapping in gauze after the first week because the gauze always got stuck in the nail bed.

    I would advise anyone who would go through the same procedure to try to ask their doc about Bactroban cream, I don’t want to directly recommend it cos I might just have gotten lucky and it may not always be applicable for other situations but I really feel that cream has helped greatly in speeding up my recovery. Now at week5, theres about an inch of what I think is nail growth! yay!! anyways sorry this is too long I hope this would help someone. I have read a lot of forums while wallowing in self pity during my first few weeks but I found this post as the most informative one with your pics and also the comments section. thanks again!

      1. Kmart

        Hey Tyler,

        Just wanna compare notes with you–after your first non permanent nail removal, how long did it take for the toenail to grow back fully? Mine just seems like stuck halfway through, and it seems like the nail just gets thicker, but not longer.. There is a thick-ish skin that I think is preventing the growth, like in this pic: http://i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll154/Pjpicture/Toe/IMG_0133.jpg

        A few months ago as I thought I was healing pretty well but now I think my nail just wont return back to how it looked like before. 🙁

  42. Adam

    I’m 14 and I’ve had trouble with ingrown toenails my whole life (thanks a lot mom) only one is infected at the moment and is draining orange puss.. it feels like someone is repeatedly hitting my toe with a hammer but I have school tomorrow and have finals, should I get my toe fixed tonight? Or wait until the end of finals week?

  43. Pake

    Hi, thanks for the post! I got a nail excision done 10 hours ago where they cut a little bit nail off from the side. Do you have any idea about how long it’s normal for the toe to be numb? I got 3-4 (I think) shots of anesthetic, I think it was lidocaine. Right after the operation I almost couldn’t feel my toe and it’s not that numb anymore and a few hours ago it started to have a “tingling” sensation in it when pressure applied to it, such as when walking. I’m just a little worried because I’ve read that the anesthetic should wear off in a few hours.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I very much wish I wasn’t about to say this, but you are REALLY going to wish the anesthetic lasted forever once it fully wears off. In my experiences, it took way longer than expected to fully regain feeling back, about 16 hours.

      In my worst experience, I stayed awake from 3-5:30am rotating between sitting on the couch with my feet (I had both toes done) under an ice pack and laying with my back on the floor and feet on the couch, all while vaping more cannabis to help with the pain. It’s terribly excruciating and I hated it, but I was fine the next morning every single time.

      Give it 24 hours and for the love of everything, don’t use it while it’s still numb.

      1. Pake

        Ok, thanks for the really fast answer! 😀 Sorry to hear about your experience. I’ll give it time and luckily I have pain medicine ready, just hoping it will be effective enough…

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Pain meds did work, just not during that 2.5 hour period.

          It you don’t get an infection, the local anesthetic wearing off should be the worst pain of the experience.

  44. Autumn

    Hi
    Guess you can tell I am looking for information because I am hurting? If things had gone as planned, I wouldnt have “met” you. Infected big ingrown toenail. Took keflex 5 days, including yesterday, when I had the partial removal with phenol acid. I was wondering how long the anesthesia would last because for the longest time 12 hours) no pain. Lucky me.! Why did the podiatrust give me a rx for 20 vicodin? Didnt even bother to take to pharmacy but did have him fax over the keflex order (3x day times 5 more days). Figured if I needed a vicodin or two my hubby had some. Oh such ignorance was blissful! About 12 hours after procedure severe, burning, throbbing pain. Slit the sides or bandage to help the swelling. Now 24 hours later definitely using the vicodin every 4 hours, sick to death with nausea from it). Due to soak in epsom salts soon times 20 minutes then cover with bandaid. That is it. Hoping when I soak dressing will come off??? and worried about the burning comments I have read about the soaking. I am retired, snow storm outside so dont need to go anywhere for ten days, elevating and resting. Sure hoping things get better. Hubby had four toenails removed with the phenol and no problems. Thanks for the site as I really would have been super worried when all I had to compare was my hubby.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The “burning” from soaking is due to the Epsom salt — it dissipates quickly and almost always felt better. No comparison to the pain you experienced when the local anesthetic wore off.

      I covered mine with gauze and tape for a week or two and then switched to bandages. Was easier to soak, remove, and deal with while the wound was still seeping.

  45. pedro

    I got my right big toe removed and it grew back ingrown and it hurts even more, do i get it removed again??

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, but this time you accept your fate and ask them to acid-burn the root so it won’t grow back.

      93% of people have no problems after that. My right big toe (I have big toenails removed) sorta grew back in two small spots, I’ll need to get them dug out.

      No nails, as long as the look doesn’t bother you, are way better than having nails. Way better.

  46. Jess

    Hi
    I need both my big toenails removing. Problem is i am a chef and my shifts are 9 hours at the shortest and 11 hours on normal days. Its impossible to take more than a week off work for it and that includes the day when its done. Do you think thats long enough to heal before i start work again?
    Thankkkkks:)

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Heal? Oh helllllllllllllll no.

      HOWEVER, the first few days are the most important to prevent infection. When I had my last surgery, I had both big nails taken off. I didn’t rest much (had to help move stuff around at work) and only soaked once a day: my right toe was infected in five days.

      But for all the rest of my surgeries, I rested hard for 3-5 days (enough for the swelling to be almost gone and the tenderness to dissipate), soaked 2-3 times a day, and changed my bandages whenever I worried they might be dirty (remember this on a work break). No problems.

      So…
      1. Soak twice a day and STAY THE HELL OFF YOUR FEET while you’re off work.
      2. Change bandages at work if you can.
      3. Don’t stop soaking and regular bandaging until the weeping stops, and continue once a day after that.

      If you can nail those first few days while off work, you’ll be fine, but if you do not, you are going to haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttteeeeeeeeee life (you’ll be fine, though you’ll be lucky to be able to walk if you get a toe infected). Good luck, stock on on breathable gauze and tape, don’t be afraid of Epsom salts, and change your bandage at least twice a day.

  47. Farrah

    Thanks Tyler,

    I go back to the podarist on Monday. I am two weeks post surgery had two toenails removed, but did not do it permenantly. Big soccer player, but had been in pain for a while. Not sure this pain has been the best, One toe did better than the other. Still two weeks post-op having pain. I hope it will dissapte as I miss soccer really bad. Those shots were awful. Man I don’t know how you went through this, what I have gone through seems pretty rough!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I also had one toe (left) heal much better and quicker than my right. It happens.

      Pain will dissipate, though it will be weird for a bit longer as your nails grow back.

      I made it through because the temporary pain was better than the long-term part.

      It’s worth and I’d do it again, though I really don’t want to.

  48. Natalie

    Finally some real first hand info!
    I have a pretty nasty infected ingrown toenail and have been on 3 courses of antibiotics to reduce infection and then I’m just on a long longggg waiting list for surgery.
    But I am absolutely terrified!! I am pretty phobic of needles and hospitals/surgerys… can you be completely honest and tell me what the worst part is and what to prep for?
    Also how long you’d recommend off work? (I do 8-12 hours on feet)
    Any info will be massively appreciated!
    thank you!!!!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You bet.

      The shots to numb the toe hurt for a bit, but less so if the area is sprayed with a cold numbing agent first.
      Zero pain during the actual procedure after that.

      The worst pain, and this happened every time, was when the local anesthetic wore off that night.
      I was in agony for about two hours, and twice I alternated between letting a bag of ice sit on my toes while I sat on the couch and laid on my back on the floor and raised my feet with the couch.
      When I woke up in the morning, I was totally fine. Those two hours were tough, but until I got one toe infected one time, that was the worst pain and it was over pretty quickly.

      I didn’t take any medication for my surgeries, save for the infected time, so I’m betting a few painkillers for that first night may be all you need. It’s really not bad after that.

      The first week is the most important. If you can take 3-7 days off, and I’d take as many off as I can and STAY OFF YOUR FEET, you’ll be walking okay.

      Will be about a month before you’re playing sports well again though.

  49. michelle

    My daughter had the sides of her toenail removed on Monday and when I redressed it today it didn’t look great. Not sure if it is infected .

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Well, a doctor did slice and yank a piece of nail out of her skin a few days ago, so… 😉

      It will look nasty until the shots heal from the inside. You’ll get a skin-like, yellowish substance that’s will remind you of pus but isn’t.

      If her toe hurts when you squeeze her foot or ankle or if it’s painful to move, then it’s a possible infection.

      Good luck, keep it clean!

  50. Simone

    I had one side of my big toenail removed Nov 2015, and now this horrible deformed looking bit of a nail (if you can call it that?) is growing back. It’s not even attached to the big toe nail (if you get my meaning?). The Pod said that only 2% grow back, trust me to be the 2%! I noticed over the last couple of weeks it was throbbing in the night. Now I realise it’s this nail pushing it’s way up UGH! So what do I have to look forward to now?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      First of all, my condolences. I am also part of that 2%, as my right big nail is growing back in both lower corners, EXACTLY where it hurt before.

      The left side is just a divot, the right side is a mini-deformed nail and I can’t quite clip because it’s somehow attached underneath.

      From what I gather, we can look forward to a deeper, more expensive surgery that involves my least favorite “surgical” term ever: digging.

  51. Michele

    Thanks for this blog . I had my toenail removed permanently a month ago and while it is feeling much better I have a big scab on it. The doctor said that he is pleased with the way that it is healing and will see me in a month. I am hoping that the scab will fall off without any discomfort!

  52. Owen

    I had my right big toenail removed and phenolised a couple of days ago. Had to have three shots to numb the toe completely, which stung, but not at all unbearably. After that I didn’t feel a thing, and it was all done within just a few minutes. I went straight home by taxi and went straight to bed for a few hours after that, which might have helped, as I’ve felt no pain at all. They’ve told me to keep the dressing on while I shower to keep bacteria out, then remove it and salt bath, then drip-dry, then new dressing. Fingers crossed it’ll all heal up nicely.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Going to bed right away definitely helped, a lot of my first-night pain was because I moved around when my toe was still numb. That was dumb.

      I think I took my bandage off right after the shower, then soaked. Easiest that way.

  53. Jamie

    I got my right big toe nail removed. What worries me is I’m on day 4-5 and still can’t bend my big toe or separate it from toe beside it. Someone told me that the freezing they use can effect it but i dont know.
    I still get that burning were the nail was and joint of toe plus toe cramps. Is this normal?
    Also the bandages no matter how loose I put them on feel way to tight and throb. It’s still leaking so I still need bandages.
    Wish I could send a picture lol just for your opinion.
    Thank you

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yeah, the toe joint can get stiff. Toe cramps are normal, too.

      If there’s still that much pain in 2-3 days, you’re likely developing an infection and should go in.

  54. Tracy

    Tyler,
    Like many others, I want to thank you for taking the time to post your story and pictures! There is not much information available online about this kind of thing and you’ve inspired me to look into starting a similar blog to help others.
    I have dealt with ingrown toenails my entire life (now 32). I remember having them as a kid and it seemed as though they were constantly infected. As an adult, they did not get infected (imagine that – better hygiene as an adult than a kid!), but they were still a struggle for me. I would try to let them grow out, but once they became painful, I would pick at them until the nail was tiny again. It seemed like my toenails were constantly sore from an ingrown or from me attempting to find relief from the ingrowns. I had multiple nail techs, in the process of giving me a pedicure, attempt to dig out the ingrown nail (which was far more painful than the surgery, by the way) but it would always grow back. I’d always get comments from the nail techs that they had never seen such bad ingrown toenails. Finally, one nail tech told me that her mother had suffered with them and had them surgically removed. In January, I decided to stop avoiding the issue and see the podiatrist.
    In January, he performed a partial avulsion of the side of both big toes and applied the phenol so they did not grow back. Because I am a woman, he cut a smaller piece of the nail to try to preserve the look of the nail, but I wound up having issues with the phenol not flushing out properly. When I visited him for my 2 week follow-up, he cleaned up the nail (read as: cleaned down the side he had worked on with a sharp, pointy instrument…OUCH!) and flushed it with water and everything seemed to be fine. I was even back to running by March!
    Fast forward to April. My right toe had started to get red around the edges and, when it became too sore to touch, I scheduled another appointment with the podiatrist. I went in yesterday and found out that my nails are unhealthy and that the main part of the nail is not growing back properly after surgery. (I had noticed a ridge on both nails that started with the new growth after surgery, but assumed it was normal after the surgical trauma.). I was informed that this ridge-line is not normal…neither was the softer, more gel-like nail that was growing back on my right toenail and neither was the whitish color on my left big toenail (come to find out – the white color was a yeast infection that had gotten under the nail which he treated with a laser).
    The podiatrist removed my entire right toenail, but not permanently with phenol. He wants to see if it will grow back normally and, if so, plans on doing the same thing to my left big toenail in a couple of months. In my opinion, the pain is worse from having the entire nail removed as opposed to a sliver (which only makes sense, right?). I haven’t taken the bandage off yet (supposed to leave on for 24 hrs), so I haven’t seen my right toenail yet (and not sure I want to, if I’m honest).
    I had seen your previous post about your experience with the partial nail removal back in January when I was looking for information and now this one about the complete removal as I was perusing for information to prepare me for what is under that bandage. Thanks for posting your experience and providing information as to what to look for as a sign of infection! This blog has certainly helped me to realize this is a more common problem/procedure than I thought and has helped to comfort me.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That’s great! My right big toe, which had its nail removed over two years ago and got infected at the time, has grown back in two spots. In left lower corner, it’s growing straight down, just like it did with a nail there. Thankfully, the skin isn’t as strong as a nail. In the right lower corner, a small piece of the normal nail has grown back.

      I’m waiting until they hurt or the end of this year to get them cut out again…ugh. The left one hurts at times!

  55. Heather

    Hi Tyler! Thanks so much for the information, it is appreciated. It makes me feel better to read all of the stories as I don’t feel so crazy now. Here is mine: I am a 45-year-old, healthy working mom of two. One day my left big toe nail hurt when I touched it, only when I touched it — so, I didn’t touch it and left it alone. I waited a few months and it became notably worse, so I went to see a podiatrist (end of Feb 2016). I explained everything, how it hurt under the nail, couldn’t clip it without unbearable pain, etc. Without really looking at it, he said it was ingrown toe nail. He proceeded to partially, permanently remove one side. Well, recovering from that was crazy painful. I soaked with his recommended Sanifeet and applied the healing gel. I missed two days of work, because I could not wear a regular shoe or even a sandal. Nothing could touch or cover my toe! I ordered a surgical shoe and went to work. I felt better and then one afternoon, about two weeks later…my toe swelled up and I turned really pale and was shivering. So, I called the doc on call and they called in an antibiotic and made an appt to see my podiatrist when he came back from vacation (in 5 days!!). So, I hobbled in there, feeling better, but with the same pain I had originally complained about. Here I was back again, been to heck and back and I am at square 1. Perplexed, the doc took an X-ray (showed a small bone spur, but nothing alarming). He sent me on my way with a prescription of 800 mg Ibuprofen and an appt 10 days later. Well, 10 days later and more co-pays going down the drain, I went to see him. I was still wearing the surgical boot and still could not touch it. He didn’t know what to do, so he sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed soft tissue selling and possible osteomyelitis (bone infection). The doc said, “well, I don’t think it is an infection because you were just on antibiotics…so, let’s schedule a surgery to cut under the nail and take out a piece of the bone and see what it going on…but we will have to wait to schedule it until my assistant comes back from a funeral, so she will call u in a few weeks”. Then he left the room. I sat there and thought…are you seriously kidding me?? I had put up with his gruff and dismissive nature for far too long. So, I got a new doc. He reviewed everything. He decided to remove my entire toe nail (not perm) first to see if that would work. Well, that was last Friday, 8 April 2016. I can honestly, say this is the most pain I have ever been in my life. I have had two kids and two cervical fustian and this is worse. I felt like I had a 1000 rubber bands around my toe. I followed the instructions, took the prescribed antibiotics and pain meds. On Wednesday night, I was so out of mind, my husband made me go the ER as my new doc was out of town. Well, here in Northern VA, I was there for 7 hours! They ruled out infection, I guess, they never really told me and I had been up for 24 hours so I was completley out of it! The X-ray still showed soft tissue swelling, so I really hope this wasn’t all for naught. The ER doc called my doc and he provided instructions to wrap my foot in a soft cast and leave it alone until my appt this coming Tuesday. Also, I have to use crutches. That’s currently where it stands. I have missed this past week of work and am going to try to go in tomorrow. I hope this nightmare ends sometime soon. I know this story is long, however, just know that the pain we have all shared from “just a toe” is real. Thanks for listening!!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Holy crap! My infected right toe (full nail removal) was super painful, but not THAT painful and antibiotics cleaned it up in three days.

      Thanks for your story, as my big right toe (again!!!) has my nail ingrown in two places (my right big toenail WILL NOT DIE), so I’ll likely have to do that more invasive surgery that you did soon.

      It feels a lot better once the swelling is gone!

    2. Chillin

      Hi Heather, our stories are quite similar, I’m also a working mom in my 40-s 🙂 and I experienced almost the same kind of pain as you. When my infection started, I couldn’t put my foot down because it started swelling, became dark blue, felt like wrapped very-very tightly and like exploding. It lasted for about 3-4 weeks with fever and elevated crp, then started getting better. It was in last November and I’m still suffering from the consequences (arthrosis), while my original problem has not been solved. It’s crazy that such a small bodypart can cause such horrible pain.

  56. Elijah

    Real quick, I was wondering if my toe is ok

    I did just get a good third removed because of an ingrown toenail, and it’s been about a week and not really red, but there is some pus on the edges and some dead skin. Not sure if this means there’s an infection, or that it’s just healing. One thing I do know is it’s not painful but more tender or raw feeling to where it’s smooth and soft and only hurts a bit if I were to press on the area near the remaining piece of nail. Thank you for your time

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That sounds normal. The pus goes away after 7-14 days, usually.

      Go by pain…your body will let you know if it’s infected.

      You won’t be able to shrug off infection pain.

  57. Concerned Autistic (Tom)

    I am in constant pain, due a low pain tollerance. I am scheduled to get my nail fixed up tomorrow. I am autistic as well and forced to be out of the house on my feet due to a day program and on my feet at home due to an Independent Living Skills program. IF I stay still or sit down/lay down doing nothing, my mom (also conservator) yells at me to stop being lazy.

    All the advice I see says “Stay off feet, soak in Epsom salt and water”….the Epsom salt I lack, and cannot afford it due to being not allowed money by the conservatorship. By following the doctor’s advice, I may open myself to more abuse. What should I do?

  58. Francine

    Wow! I can’t believe what you went through. But I’m so thankful that you documented and shared the experience. I had serious pain in my left big toe; it actually felt like someone bashed it with a hammer. Hard! I finally went to a podiatrist who told me I had fungus & he gave me some stuff to put on it for a year! Seriously! Days passed, my pain increased to the point it was waking me up at night. I knew this couldn’t be normal. I set an appointment with another podiatrist & it wasn’t fungus. I had an abscess growing under my nail that was pushing up on it, causing the pain. He had to remove the entire nail. I said when? He said now. Yikes! He said it would hurt for a couple of days. So of course, I said ok. That was May 3rd, 5 days ago. It’s still painful and feels so icky! Here were my instructions:
    Wait 4 hours after procedure and remove bandage and soak in warm water & Epsom salt. (OmG!!! I was shaking, sweating, crying, screaming and hyperventilating from the pain! Seriously! I thought I was going to pass out! Last night was the first time that soaking my foot wasn’t a big deal. Just uncomfortable, but nothing so bad.) Then soak twice a day in warm water with Epsom salt & take antibiotics for a week. After 2 nights, leave bandage off at night, but still put the neosporin and that oily mesh “gauze” on it.
    Every day I have been noticing more and more white stuff on top of and around where my toenail used to be. Why so much? What the heck is it?! Can’t just be skin bc it’s also on top, not just the sides.
    Also, I go back to the doctor on Tuesday (2 more days), can I put my foot back in my sneaker? Should I go with flip-flops? I’m thinking it’s more dangerous to go with open toed shoes. But can I handle the pain of putting my foot in my shoe?!
    It’s May 8th & I have a movie premier to go to at the end of June. Will I be able to wear heels?
    I was concerned about how ugly my feet would be. I had such nice feet. But now I just want the pain to go away.
    How long before I can put my sneakers on and just walk normally?
    This really stinks! I had to put my Pom in boarding bc my husband had to fly out for work.
    sigh. I would’ve never thought this would happen to me. Who the heck gets an abscess under their toenail?! Doc kept asking if I had trauma to the toe. No. But I did fall while running last summer and fractured that ankle. But that was my ankle, not my toe.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Ouch! I’ve had an abscess under a fingernail once, but nothing like yours.

      Your recovery regimen sounds similar to mine. The gooey stuff is just extra cells. Looks weird, but it dries up as wounds close fully.

      Heels…yikes.

  59. Mark

    Hello Tyler I have ingrown toenails on both my big toes and have for almost two years now. I’m hopefully finally getting them both removed and I mean fully removed. I was wondering how long the procedure took? And if u were working or not during the healing process? I only ask because I work and I’ll need to get back to work as soon as possible so I was wondering g if u worked while healing and if u have any tips on how to make it a little easier on yourself!?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I did work during the healing process, but I have mostly an office job, so I was able to stay off my feet a lot. The first 3-5 days seem the most important, as any issues I had stemmed from me using my toes too much immediately after the surgeries.

      What worked for me:
      Epsom salt soaks, 2x daily. Once before my morning shower, then at night right before bed.
      Non-stick gauze and breathable tape to wrap the toe(s). Practice doing this correctly (no loose tape, firm but not tight).
      Keep toe wrapped until seeping stops. It will look like pus and get clearer over time.
      After seeping stops, remove bandage at night. I made sure to use pillows to elevate my feet and a light blanket to protect them from my dog and wife.
      STAY OFF YOUR FEET for as long as you can during those first few days and keep an extra bandage around in case you get sweaty or wet. Pain wise, aside from the infection I contracted once because I didn’t bother to rest even a day (seriously, I helped renovate an office because I’m dumb), it was pretty pain-free after the shots wore off that first night.

      Oh, and that weird skin/pus/discharge stuff is just new growth, and the blister-like bubbles around your cuticles are from the shots. They’ll go away. Bad signs are lots of redness and pain beyond the toe (like, say, when bending your knee somehow hurts your toe real bad). Everything else is just part of the healing process and might look bad, but isn’t.

  60. miss g

    Hi! I had my toenail removed (non permanently) 4 weeks ago bc of a cuticle infection. Seems like permanent removal is a lot more invasive. Healing is going along slowly but my toe is sometimes still slightly pink and inflamed. Just yesterday the scab fell off. I also just learned about Amerigel and started using it. Finally it’s beginning to look somewhat decent. Sometimes it feels itchy. Did you experience any itchiness? I get paranoid that it’s infection but I also heard itchiness is a sign of wound healing.
    Thanks for posting your progress. I was wondering why it was taking me so long to heal but now I see that this is normal.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Itchiness is part of the healing. It’s infuriating, but nothing to be concerned with.

      From what I can tell, infection almost always sets in within the first few days or not at all.

      Redness around the wound is normal, redness extending into the foot isn’t.

      Good luck!

  61. susan

    Ok. Thanks so much for your post. Can you tell me why not use peroxide? I’ve been using it the past 3 days which make days 10, 11, and 12 post surgery.
    Toe is finally looking and feeling better.
    Why do doctors and now this post say no peroxide?

  62. Faith Fleming

    I had removal of both my large toenails 8 days ago. I called my Podiatrist 3 days out and the receptionist told me redness was normal and to take tylenol for pain (Luckily my GP did give me some trammadol that day or I would have died) I am still having pain and really red. I am doing epsom salt soaks twice a day. It is hurting in my foot and my ankle. Could I send you pics and get your opinion? I am Diabetic too.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You very likely have an infection. Can happen any time during the first 1-3 weeks, depending on healing.

      Go to the doctor, now. Like an Urgent Care or something, not an ER. But go.

        1. Tyler Hurst

          I waited until the pain hit my knee. Almost had to crawl. Antibiotics cleared it up, but it was a tough 30-ish hours before the pain was lessened to the point of not needing painkillers.

          1. Faith Fleming

            Well I called Podiatrist and he is out for the week. The receptionist assured me this all is normal. I am so afraid it is infected. 2 years ago I had an infection in my thumb that cost me 1 week in the hospital and 2 months on IV antibiotics, because of my diabetes. I cannot get through to my Dr. either….UGH!!!

          2. faith

            Yes and I got into my Dr. and got antibiotics and pain meds. It is much better today. I follow up with the Podiatrist tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

  63. Donna

    moderation.

    I had both big toenails removed. Suffered intense burning pain. Went to a and e told to suffer it went back to podiatrist who tells me iv had a really bad reaction to the phenol. Got huge blisters around the wound it’s been a month now and still have lots of pain and blood blisters where the cuticle was. Wondering if I should go back to podiatrist x

  64. Chillin

    I also had my ingrown toenail (partially) removed last year. Then it grew back. Then they removed a larger portion but left in a small piece which grew out of my wound. Then they decided to cut even bigger and deeper. Got a huge bacterial infection that led to a long hospital stay, IV antibiotics and another surgery. Meanwhile the infection ate up the cartilage in my joint, AND a small piece of nail grew out again. I’m in constant pain, waiting for a joint fusion surgery and hoping for a permanent solution.
    And the bonus: while I tried to protect my hurt, aching toe, I overburdened the other foot so my other big toenail got hurt, fell off, and the new nail grew right in the flesh. Just had the surgery, hopefully it solved the problem but I’m not too optimistic these days.
    All these happened in the last 15 months, I’ve never had this problem before.

  65. john

    I have a infected foot i got my toe nail pulled from a ingrown on my left toe, its been 7 months just about and i have a nail growing but my toe is fat my toe naid is no longer growing and i cant feel my toe itz numb and my whole foot is cracking up like skin wise what im wondering why i cant feel my big toe nail its numb and my nail is half way grown but its not growing anymore….it worries me because my toe is fat i have no ingrown eaither…..

    1. Tyler Hurst

      You may have a nail growing directly downward. I did, on one corner. Really, all I need to solve is that one part, but I had to take the toenail off to get at it.

      Anyway, go get checked out, you may need a deeper surgery.

  66. Allison

    Daughter just had to have this done (partial on both big toes). Day 4 and pain is almost gone but there is severe bruising on left toe. I had mine done years ago and just can’t remember the bruising. She’s only 11 so I’m worried about her. Following all post-op instructions. Also left started bleeding at nail bed today.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Bruising is from the pain killing shots (has to regrow from inside out, so that’s what you’re seeing) and may look like blisters, eventually. Also made worse from moving too often with a numb toe (I did 2x, I assume your 11-year-old would as well).

      It may shed like old skin, eventually. As long as there’s no pain, I wouldn’t worry about it. Mine faded in color and disappeared, just like a black eye.

  67. tracy

    3 weeks a go i had both of my ingrowns removed from both big toes. I was numb for tbe first two days so i didnt feel anything. I kept both elevated as much as i could but i dont rest i did for 2 days but i am always on the go and I got an infection because I moved around too much i had dressing on every day i put them in water but the pain is bad and i cant sleep at nite i keep my feet out of bed and i put the fan on them and them small so bad so i when to see the nurse she said keep on your feet them did not give me nothing for the pain just dressing to put them on but my toes r red and black and keep weeping its my right toe is bad pain killing dont help

    1. Tyler Hurst

      1. Stop moving around. You’re making it worse.
      2. Find Epsom salt. Soak your toes in it at least once a day.
      3. If you’re still hurting, something is wrong.
      4. Go back to the doc.

  68. Zainab Tsav

    Hi I had mine removed on 30th June this year.i have been going for dressing every alternate day now I just do the warm salt water soaks at home and was told by my doctor to live the toes open when I am home.My problem is that the toes still drain out pus and it really sucks.After the soaks the dried layer comes off and it looks fresh again.How long will this continue ?I will see my doc today to check for any infection

  69. Chillout

    Hi, I had a partial nail excision on 8th June. Everythun looked more than great for 2 weeks, then someting started but nothing really bad. Then, after 4 weeks my toe became purple and the wound was also quite nasty. My dr told it looked great, no worries. I cleaned it as deep as I could and started taking antibiotics. Now, one week later the wound looks very good, it’s dry and getting smaller, but my toe is still purple-ish and swells up when I stand too much. The joint is more or less mobile so I’m not worried, it’s only the funny color that bothers me. It’s not warmer or colder than my other toes. Do you have a clue what it could be? Thank you so much!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, the purple is the damaged skin from the shots and/or the acid used to burn the root.

      Your body is pushing it out, while building skin from the inside, and having what is essentially dead skin there is irritating a bit to the area.

      You may see blister-like things there too, same issue.

      The pain was likely from an infection that the antibiotics cleared up, but now your body has to push that part out too.

      1. Chillout

        Thank you for your answer! I’m having a joint fusion surgery in my other big toe (due to complications from the previous nail surgery, that’s why I’m a little bit paranoid) in ten days and if this one is not healed nicely by then, it will be postponed.

  70. Ellen

    Had both nails removed and toes treated with phenol to destroy matrix 35 days ago, found and this web page on day 3 (post surgery), bookmarked it as “light at the end of the tunnel”. As by day 3 my left toe was quite clearly infected as I faited having the dressing changed, it was only on day 9 i was informed I would need an antibiotic. Similarly to some of the above stories , these were my darkest days…. Never felt pain like it. The infection continued and am now on my 2nd course of antibiotics. But today (day 35) I now feel relief….no shoes yet, but I could finally put my feet under my bedcovers last night. Not sure I would recommend it yet but it’s still early days for me….. Just thought your story helped me get through it. Thanks.

  71. Sue Hamilton

    This has been great. Thanks for your story. I have a question about the peroxide. I had both big toenails removed 9 days ago. They still hurt but bearable with tylenol. My podiatrist said to rinse them once a day with 50/50 peroxide and water. But you say no peroxide. Why? Thanks.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Peroxide is too drying, and usually made it tight so it almost throbbed.

      Epsom salt in warm water has always worked really, really well for me on foot/toe injuries (I’m a runner, so I’ve long experimented with various options for healing, epsom salt has worked better than peroxide for soaking purposes).

    2. Tyler Hurst

      And by “runner”, I mean 30-ish mile weeks in those Vibram five finger things, so any discomfort I’ve had has always been magnified because I don’t have cushy shoes.

      Hope whatever decision you make works out well for you, though I’m sure trying both isn’t going to hurt anything too terribly.

  72. Sue Hamilton

    I forgot to add that I also had toenail fungus. Maybe that is what the peroxide/water rinse is for? Thanks again.

      1. Sue Hamilton

        Wow what a fast response! Thank you alot! Yes the peroxide rinse does throb for a few seconds. Less than last week though. Again thanks for your fast response! I will ask my podiatrist about me doing the Epson salt soaks on Monday when I go for my two week check up.

  73. Taylor

    I’m really scared to get my ingrown toenail removed. I put some medicine on it and now it feels fine. Should I still remove it?

  74. Amanda

    I literally just read through allll the comments. Amazing how many different after care experiences everyone has had. I had my entire big toenail removed yesterday. I was told to leave the bandages on for 24 hours. Today I soaked first to make removal easier. Yeah right. Insanely painful, as the bandage was stuck to my nail bed. My recommendation was to soak in a white vinegar/Epsom salt combination once a day. Do you have any idea at what point the soaking stops being insanely painful? I’m hesitant to do it again tomorrow. I was only given ibuprofen as pain pills (probably because I’m nursing my twins). I should add that my toe was infected before removal and has a fungus as well.

  75. Amanda

    Good to know. Haven’t tried it yet. Glad it’s only once a day though. My doctor mentioned being careful in the shower, but didn’t say when to start washing it with soap and water. Any idea?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I started washing with soap and water after the soaking was over, but most of the time, the run off would clean it decently.

      The shower doesn’t hurt like you think it would, except for getting in and out.

  76. Jennifer

    I am on day 8 of a full removal on my left big toe. Looking through your pics, I do not think its infected, but today hurts worse than any pain I’ve had so far. The throbbing is intense. Initially, the numbness took a couple days to wear off and until today I’ve only felt slight pressure. I did a lot of walking and mountain biked about 8 miles on day 2.
    My instructions were to soak twice a day in 1/2 c white vinegar in 1 gal warm water. Neosporin and bandaid after morning soak and clean out with qtip and peroxide then dry bandaid after night soak. After the first week I’m supposed to leave bandage off at night and as much as possible during the day. I still have some seeping of yellowish (mostly clear) liquid. I’m wondering how much Epsom salt and water you guys use for your soak because I want to try that. After reading one of your recent comments about peroxide I wonder if that causes some of the pain I’m having also where it feels tight and almost like how a nail feels if you break or rip it off in the “quick” and you get that burning stinging feeling. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. I also was told most people are back to normal and wearing normal shoes in a couple days but I’m finding out that is NOT the case here. Like everyone else, thank you for posting about your journey so that the rest of us do not feel quite so alone in thinking that we are progressing extremely slowly or not at all, when in fact, I think we’re doing just fine.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I helped a buddy move on day 2, and that resulted in the only infection I’ve had.

      Peroxide is likely contributing to the dryness and throbbing, though I can’t be certain.

      1/2 cup of Epsom salt, mixed in warm water with baby shampoo is what I used.

      Stung less every time and felt GREAT the morning after a night soak.

      Throbbing sounds like the beginning of an infection, though.

  77. Connor trail

    Well at least I know what to expect now. I had my nail removed a couple days ago and the pain had has spread to my entire lower leg. But at least not gonna last that long

      1. Connor trail

        Yeah I have clindamycin which helped clear the infection before they removed it and I’m continuing to finish getting rid of it. The most pain is coming from the silver nitrate they used to kill my nail matrix. It burns like crazy lmao.

  78. Shrutasree

    I just had the surgery today, now it is hurting, is the pain normal??? how long i have to feel like this???

    1. Tyler Hurst

      So the local anesthesia just wore off? Yeah, it’s going to suck for a couple, maybe a few, hours.

      Use whatever non-alcohol pain reducer you have (anti-inflammatory too) and rotate between icing your toe and keeping it above your head.

      I sat on couch with feet on floor with ice on top, then laid on floor with feet on couch every 15-20 minutes, while consuming cannabis (my painkiller/anti-inflammatory of choice). It wasn’t fun, but I’d do it again if I had to.

      My pain lasted until I fell asleep, and I was fine the next morning (save for my one infected toe, but that was caused by a separate issue) for the next few weeks.

      I’m sorry it sucks right now, but this is about the worst it will get for most people.

  79. Shrutasree

    thanks, I don’t know what the hell I thought, I assumed there will be no pain after surgery which was stupid of me. But it did hurt like hell, but now a constant throbbing pain happening, taking my medicines and hoping for a fast recovery. Resting my toe is tiresome and boring. But I am feeling positive for now.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Two of my surgeries were painless, one hurt a little right away, and the fourth hurt right away and again after a few days.

      Make sure you’re not wrapping anything too tight.

  80. Pip

    I have had partial toenail removal on my big toe. The surgeon cut down the left and right sides into the skin and it was pretty painless. Now the remaining nail is starting to peel away & I am not sure why that it is. Doesn’t hurt or anything just seems a bit strange!

  81. Desirae

    I just had this procedure done 3 weeks ago. Last week at my followup appointment, the podiatrist said it looked good and was healing nice. That I would have drainage for 2 months and to always keep it bandaged. Well, the other night I took a shower and afterwards my toe just started throbbing. I took ibuprofen as the podiatrist didn’t prescribe me any pain killers and it didn’t help. It took over 6 hours for my toe to somewhat stop hurting. However, when I changed my bandages tonight, there was a green glob that came off on the bandage. Is that a sign of infection? I haven’t been able to rest my leg/toe much as I have a one month old who I need to take care of and I am a single mother. I’m usually on my feet or sometime sitting down. Especially the first few days I had it done. I don’t have anyone that could help me with the baby. And now I’m concerned that me being on it too much and/or my body wash may have gotten on it somehow and has caused an infection.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Being on your feet too much won’t necessarily cause an infection, as long as you’ve been good about changing bandages regularly.

      Your body wash is okay, too. Nothing in there that would do this, unless you were soaking in it daily.

      The green is likely dead bacteria in the wound (that’s okay) itself if it came off easily.

      I’ve had that happen before, prior to having surgeries. It sucked, but I drained it and it was fine. I was told it was discharge that was caught in the wound, not a deep infection.

      Unless the pain is coming into your foot and up your leg, you’re fine (you will KNOW when this happens, as walking will be super painful all the way up) for now, at least.

      If you can, try soaking your toe in Epsom salt right before bed for a few nights.

      1. Desirae

        Yes it came off easily in the bandage. The bandage was a little stuck to my toe. I have just been soaking my toe in warm water. They never told me to use Epsom salt so I will have to get some. My toe and part of my foot hurt, especially at night or when I walk around too much, like walking 2 blocks to the store. I’m still kind of walking on the side of my foot because it hurts to have my toe completely on the floor/ground. It is constantly throbbing and feels like someone is taking a pin needle and sticking it in my toe in different spots. It hurts to touch my toe or wear shoes or sandals. I also can’t bend my toe but just barely. I just don’t want to end up with an infection of any kind.

  82. Thomas

    8 days ago I had a partial removal. There is now a red color under the toenail and my toe started throbbing tonight. The PA said only keep the bandage on if it was bleeding other then that let it air out. I haven’t had a bandage on it since day 2. It’s hard for me to stay off of it as I’m an officer. So I’m assuming the constant sweating from my boots isn’t helping. I don’t know what to do. Is it pain from healing or pain from the start of an infection?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      If you haven’t been wearing bandages inside your boot, I’m guessing it’s getting infected.

      Is the pain in your foot or leg at all? Does it hurt to put pressure on that side?

      If so, you might need antibiotics and a few painkillers.

      The only time I had pain after the first few days was because of infection, but We’re all different. Get it checked!

  83. Nancy

    I had toenail surgery two weeks ago, it kind of looks like you explained.. Dead skin, blisters, puss.. I’d like to know if it’s infected 🙁

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Does it hurt anywhere but the toe? Any pain up the foot or leg? Any difficulty walking that can’t be explained solely by your toe?

      My infection hurt so bad I could barely walk, I’m told most infections come with pretty telltale pain.

      I’m guessing that if you’re asking after two weeks (infection usually sets in earlier), you’re fine.

  84. Nancy

    Not really, just the surroundings hurt.. Since it’s all purple.. But in that case I guess it’s not infected. Thank you for your time and the advice. I appreciate it ☺

  85. Joseph

    I had my big toe toenail removed around 5 weeks ago. It’s now starting too bleed again an my toe is turning purple in some places.

    Any info would be great thanks

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Is the purple around the cuticle, where the shots were? If so, that’s a normal part of the healing. It looks terrible, but didn’t hurt me at all.

      The bleeding isn’t necessarily bad, if it’s slightly leaking from the unhealed cracks and not seeping into the bandage.

      If you have pain, go in.

  86. Grace

    I had to gather up some strength to watch the video. My dtr (13) has an ingrown toenail-we have tried all conservative treatments and nothing resolved the symptoms. Today 9/30/16 we have an appt with the Podiatrist to remove the toenail. She cried and cried; my heart hurt so much. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  87. Vincent

    Hi! I had my toe nail removed 2 weeks ago. Had an infection but it seems better now. Although sometimes it still seems wet. I leave it out to dry at night.

    My concern is I seem to have developed a blister on my wound. Do you have this problem? If yes, do you pop it? Or do you consult your doctor? Or just leave it to dry out after a few days?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Are the blisters around the cuticle area, maybe where the shots were?

      I had some there, and they went away after a few days. It felt like the blisters were protecting the skin while it was healing from deep where the root-killing stuff did its thing.

      I wouldn’t pop them, but if they hurt, definitely go in.

  88. Vincent

    Now that you mentioned, there are blisters round the cuticle too! I didn’t realize it cos it look puffy to me, doesn’t look like blisters. But that is not bothering me, the blister I had is at the edge of my toe nail (if I still have any).

    Maybe it’s because I wrapped it too tight and walked around too much. The friction caused it. Will loosen my bandage and see how it goes. For now I’ll leave it alone.

    Thanks for the reply and for the article. I’m tracking my progress (& taking photos) by referring to your article. Really helpful! 🙂

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Good plan and nice deduction about the wrap.

      I’ve just never had good luck popping blisters that show up in surgical areas (I’ve had a few cysts removed, too), so I’m glad to have hopefully saved you some pain.

      Hope you rest and heal well.

  89. Vincent

    Hi,

    I have another question. At what point did you stop wrapping your right toe (infected) with bandage in the morning? What about wearing shoes? Which week did you start wearing shoe?

    There is still a bit of blood whenever I open up my bandage after a day at work (with slippers).

    1. Tyler Hurst

      As soon as I had a day with no seeping, I stopped wearing the bandage the next day.

      I started leaving the bandage off at night after about a week, and the doc used iodine to help dry it out.

      Wearing shoes was based on pain.

  90. Anna

    Hi there! I had partial nail removal and the phenol to prevent grow back about 4 days ago. I live in Florida where the hurricane just hit so yesterday (day 3 post op) I was moving around doing clean up. My doctor told me I could return to walking normally the day after. I didn’t do anything excessive just walking mostly. I haven’t really experienced any pain so far. My post op instructions were to shower normally then apply amerigel and a bandaid for the first week. They said don’t soak. I’ve been doing exactly what he said. It’s seeping a yellowish color which I expected. But what I’m concerned about is my skin right around the base of the toenail is a chalky white color. Also I seem to have a blister on the bottom/side of that toe. Should I be concerned? It’s a little sore and tight but not painful. And it’s a little warm to the touch. Should I go to urgent care or wait until Tuesday to see my podiatrist? (I can’t tomorrow since I work) Thanks so much for posting. There is nothing on the web to help besides this blog!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Did you have shots just below your cuticles? That area is likely traumatized, i had blister-like things and dead (white) skin there because the skin underneath was healing (the area where the nail was ripped out was the worst and my doc confirmed this for me).

      If there’s no pain, there’s likely nothing wrong. Yellow-ish color, also normal.

      That blister away from your surgical point could be some rubbing on a shoe you’re wearing awkwardly now.

      (I had a different surgery that involved a two-day monsoon in AZ, which knocked out my power and forced me into a hotel to continue my recovery. That was 1% of your storm and it suuuuuuucked to deal while hurt, I hope you’re staying rested!)

      1. anna

        The storm ended up moving away from us a few miles so we got lucky ! Only lost power for about 6 hours. I think he did put a shot there, to be honest I looked away a good portion of the time because I didn’t want to freak myself out lol. Thanks for getting back to me so fast, I feel a lot less stressed now!

  91. InPain

    I had surgery 3 weeks back where removed just the small part of left side of toe nail. It still hurts a lot and I feel like lots of rubber bands around my toe. A very tightening feeling. Also a burning sensation not only on toe but finger next to it.
    Right side is red and swollen .(Not the surgery side)
    so went to podi. he says its allergic reaction to Amerigel or Bandage !! Is that even possible?
    He put me on the antibiotics.
    He took my xrays. saw swelling on right (again not on the surgery site)
    I started antibiotics yesterday but not seeing any improvement. when can I except getting better?
    Should I see another Doc? As I am getting very nervous? Has he pinched my nerve or something or is there Bone infection or something and he can’t figure it out from x ray? Please advice.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes, definitely possible! Antibiotics take 1-2 days to start working (this has been consistent for me throughout my life).

      If it was a reaction to the bandage, it would explain the tightness in the toe and the burning of the toe next to it.

      Yikes!

      Hope you’re better today, if you’re not by tomorrow I’d think about going in again.

        1. Tyler Hurst

          My shot areas turned black, then purple, then lightened up as blister-like stuff formed.

          That part is just the dead skin being pushed out, which was killed as part of the numbing/cuticle burn process.

          Watch for seeping or smell on those parts, because they may not hurt.

          Mine healed fine every time, though.

    2. Szellelszemben

      I had the same sensation after my third surgery. Turned out it was a huge infection in the joint so 20 months later (this July) I had to undergo a joint fusion surgery in my toe. Where my joint used to be now there is a long compression screw holding the bones together until they’ve healed. All this because if an ingrown nail 🙁

      1. InPain

        Ok. Here is the follow up. Went to different podi . He cleaned up the wound. It still hurts. But skin where the nail was removed looks pink. Does that mean it’s getting healed ? The toe still hurts. Is that normal? It is 5 weeks. Podi says no infection. Thanks

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Pink is good, pink means healing.

          By hurts, do you mean aching inside or sensitive to touch?

          Aching, if there’s no infection, is likely soreness from five weeks of your toe being handled differently than it ever has before. Pay attention to the pain, and go in if it gets worse.

  92. InPain

    Thanks so much for your replies. I can’t express my enough gratitude.
    So after 3 days of taking medicine the redness in turning into darker color. throbbing pain is still there. But reduced a bit. still have that rubber band tightening feeling though. The surgery side is getting blackish so I think that might not be problem anymore.
    If Doc has used chemical to burn is it possible to have reaction to that stuff?
    Would ameirgel/bandage reaction will be similar to Chemical they put ? I never had the reaction to that stuff before so it’s kind of hard to trust on this Doc.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      The acid is burning and killing your skin, so I’m not sure what more of a reaction there could be.

      My doc was a little rough with one of my sides on my third surgery, and it took longer to heal and started darker than the rest.

      How are you doing staying off your feet? Moving around can cause swelling/throbbing, too! Ice and rest is your friend there.

  93. Jovie

    What are the best medications can you recommend to me..please reply as much as possible..I really need to know immediately..Thank you..

    1. Tyler Hurst

      I soaked in Epsom salt and No Tears Baby Shampoo.

      Used AmeriGel under my bandages.

      Iodine (from doc) to dry out surgical area after a few days.

      Ice and cannabis, as necessary, for pain — are what I did.

  94. whitney

    i just got both toenail removed, im on day 3 and its really moist. Is that normal? I soak, dry and put cream and bandaid daily. Its so moist that the band aid slips off is that normal?

  95. Conrad

    Hey Tyler this blogs a goldmine, well done!
    I had surgery on both outside nails on each big toe a bit over 2 weeks ago now.
    ie: both cut down to nail bed on each left/right and treated with acid to kill the nail bed
    (Warning: This is pretty graphic)
    In recovery there was quite a bit of swelling on my left outer toe and I started to squeeze it a bit to see if anything would come out.(This is after a week of putting up with red/itchiness behind the cuticle area)
    What came out I describe as a paste like substance with a consistency of very fine cous cous. (Assuming this is the nail bed all chewed up by the acid?)
    But a sliver of dark red beetroot looking flesh also appeared, about the size of a small rice grain. I tried to pull it out with tweezers but it was all mushy, so thought best to leave it. Since then a week later when redressing they appear to be healing quite well but I still experience quite a bot of aching/pain where I previously did where the nail grew down. And quite a bit of sensitivity when the nail is pressed down by shoes when walking etc… Just wondering if this is normal and a residual effect from having had the surgery. Also if you could give me a ball park of when this would start to decrease and go back to normal?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes to the fine cous cous. Maybe also sorta like a mixture of nail and skin?

      I played tennis, poorly, after two weeks. The aching pain where the nail grew down makes me sorta worry about infection, so keep an eye for any increasing pain there.

      Sensitive nails in shoes is totally normal (your shoes may not be helping your situation, but you likely already know that), and went away permanently after six weeks. I can stub and smash my toes now with far less pain than before.

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  97. monique

    I’m back again. I had both big toes, medial edge cut out and burned about a month and a half ago. First time for the left toe, second time for the right toe. Left toe is finally okay. But last night I examined my right toe closely as I still get a bit of shooting pain. I think that nail is trying to regrow yet AGAIN. There is a hardness at the corner (although it is a very dark brown) coming in and growing where the nail was cut out from the nail bed. I thought it was hardened skin but felt it after a long shower and it is hard…nail like hard. My toenail is also turning a yellow/brown color like it is decaying or something. No odor but it looks nasty.
    I’m still not in regular shoes because of the right toe-Ugg boots and flip-flops is it.

    Also, a BIG recommendation to those getting the surgery or healing, allow the toes to dry after a week of antibiotic cream and bandages (unless you had an infected toe). At night, put your feet up and air dry the toes. Mine didn’t start really healing until I let them air dry.

    I will cry if I have to get the right toe done a THIRD time! It’s not the pain of surgery but rather the healing time and I’d just like to wear normal shoes again.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Ugh, that sucks. I too know the frustration of having that damn part grow back.

      Good tip on when to put your feet up. I waited too long the first time and recovery took almost two months.

  98. Jamie

    Thank you for the advice! My son just had his right big toe done yesterday! I’ll follow your recipes. Again, thank you so much!
    Jamie

  99. monique

    I have been trying to decide if I can get it out myself. Did you ever try to remove the nail growing back in yourself? If not, did it make matters even worse when it fully grew out? Mine did when it grew back the second time.
    I just have to determine if I should go and get the surgery done yet again because this time my insurance may cover some of it. Not the case when Jan. 1st starts. And I’d like to see the same podiatrist so he can maybe use extra burn chemical knowing my history.

  100. InPain

    Hi ,
    It’s been 8 weeks after my partial nail surgery with phenol . The bottom part of the nail has a gap between nail cut and skin. Although wound seems to be drying up. Will there be permanent gap ? I have a phenol reaction on right side of toe . Skin is still very pink there. I m not able to walk more than 20 minutes. It gives me hot burning sensation. 8 weeks is too much time passed and something serious going on ? Is it normal to feel stiff leg after 8 weeks?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      No, that does not seem normal to me. A stiff leg and burning would indicate infection, especially since you can’t walk.

      I wasn’t fully healed at eight weeks every time, but I was definitely walking without issues every time.

      Go to the doc, that phenol reaction may be covering up something else.

  101. InPain

    Went to the ER today. Doc says it’s because I didn’t walk properly for 8 weeks and limping is causing the issue. Once I start walking properly issue will go away. I was limping because that phenol burn making me . So basically I need to relearn now to walk. I will wait for two more days and see how it goes.
    When u said u were walking properly at 8 weeks does that mean It didn’t hurt u to walk at all . thanks
    Thanks

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Well, at least we now know the problem!

      When I said walking properly at 8 weeks I mean I was able to walk at eight weeks without pain, not that I could walk any way I wanted to without it hurting.

      I was lucky to be able to wear flip flops and other toe-less shoes during my entire recovery.

  102. Dk

    I got my big toe nail removed a few days back. My pain has decresed but

    What um worried about is:

    1. the stiffness of my toe . I cant really bend or move my toe much, especially after i take off the bandages n my toe comes in direct contact with air (as it dried out)

    2. My toe is now turning pink with some yellowish ( fat like ) patches in between. Is that normal or some sort of infection?

    3. My nail bed is getting pink when covered with bandages but as soon as i expose it to air , it gets red again.

    Really worried cox of all this.
    Hope it heals up asap 🙁

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Speaking from my big toenail removal…two years ago now?

      1. You’ve been walking different and flexing the toe subconsciously for days. You’re also likely manipulating the joint more than ever before to put bandages on and it’s getting sore. Rest and ice!
      2. Normal. The yellow, pus/fat-like stuff is skin that’s being pushed up to protect the growing skin beneath. If it gets darker, it could indicate infection, but lightish-yellow was normal for me.
      3. That skin has never touched air before, just like how Neo’s eyes after he was pulled from the Matrix. The pink turning into red is your body rushing blood to the skin to protect it, because it’s not yet able to deal with temp fluctuations. This went away for me, and now I can stub and get my toes wet/cold with less pain (I know it sounds weird, but it’s consistency true for me, as I run barefoot).

      This sounds a lot like how my left toe turned out, and it healed perfectly. My right toe got infected, but everything you described holds true for my good toe.

      Rest!

  103. Dave

    They took like a wedge out and a little bit of tissue out about 4 days ago. I was told to leave the bandage on for 3 days and I took it off and where they took the nail out was like dried blood that was black and my toe is really swollen and red all around. I cannot bend my my toe down and I cannot walk on it. Also feels a little numb underneath the toe. How long until I can walk again? And also, should I be soaking it in Epsom salts and wrapping it daily?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      All of that sounds like what I went through, as the time the first bandage should stay on depends on how deep the incisions had to be.

      Swollen/redness is also normal.
      Sore toe joint is also normal (you’ve likely been flexing your toe a lot, unintentionally)
      Numbness underneath the toe should go away as the swelling dies down.

      Say off of it as much as you can for the first week, and ice as needed. Your joint will calm down soon.

      I soaked twice a day for the first week, once a night (with a shower in the morning) for the next week, wearing bandages 24/7.
      After the seeping stopped during the day, I used iodine after my soak and left my bandage off at night.

  104. Felicia

    I had two ingrown toenails removed. One on each big toe. They put the chemical that is suppose to prevent it from coming back. The doctor warned it would take about 6 weeks to heal. It’s been 7 weeks and my left toe is red and has yellow and red leakage. I made an appointment already but they did not say what to do. I’ve been washing it with soap and putting neosporin.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      At seven weeks, that sounds like an infection, which will require 5-10 days of antibiotics.

      Soaking in Epsom salt once daily helped a ton, and while it stings a lot at first, the few minutes of discomfort turned into a more comfortable night’s sleep afterwards. It won’t hurt as much as the surgery or the initial wearing off of the painkillers did, though!

      Besides that, ice and rest. If it is an infection, don’t be surprised to feel pain radiating up your leg. That will stop as soon as it’s addressed.

  105. Amy Wilson

    My big toenail was forcefully removed by a door last week, and there is only a sliver of nail left on the side of my toe. It looks dreadful and hurts more today than when it met the door.Your post is great and I am calling my Dr so I can start some antibiotics. The pictures and details have been very helpful. Thank-you.

  106. Zara Mccoy

    Hi, I had both big toenails removed 9 days ago, nurse said they were healing fine on day 3 however this morning I woke up and just under my left toe where my toenail would of been is really purple and sore? No pain up the leg but very sore and a really dark purple, I can’t get to my doc till Monday and it’s really concerning me 🙁 anybody else ever had this? Looks like a bruise but didn’t appear till after soaking in warm water this morning on day 9

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Mine did that too. It’s the dead cells from the incision point and/or needle that are being pushed out for new cells growing from the inside out.

      Mine faded just like a bruise does (eventually faded to green-yellow), and was tender but not painful.

      You may also notice dead skin and/or what looks like blistering flaking off, that was part of the same thing for me.

      Yours sounds like this, and I freaked out the same way the first time I saw it.

      1. Zara Mccoy

        Thanks for replying so quick, it only happened today and I’ve been freaking out!! It’s so purple and sore I was sure my toe was going too fall off lol!

  107. Ty

    Hello…I really appreciate this post although i couldn’t bring myself to really look at your pictures. I’ve been having pains in my right big toe nail for like 5 years. I stubbed the toe like 3 years ago & the nail came out by itself. I was relieved hoping it won’t be painful when another grows but i was wrong. The new nail was more painful to touch & i get this painful achy cramps from the inside most of the time. I was later told last year that it’s an ingrown nail,i’ve been wanting to apply for a week leave at work to get the nail removed & rest because the pain is getting too much to bear but i’m so scared of the pains i’ll have to pass through after the surgery especially after reading all this because i’ve never undergone any kind of surgery before…Really scared!

    1. Tyler Hurst

      My dad said the exact same thing to me, ended up getting the procedure, and said it hurt way less than I’d made it sound.

      From my experience, I can tell you the only time it hurt was then the anesthetic wore off the first evening, and it hurt for two hours. After that, besides the infection that was mostly my fault because I was walking around on it the two days after surgery, it felt FAR better than it ever did BEFORE the surgery.

      I had this surgery four times, and I’d have it again even if I had to suffer through an infection, for the pain relief I feel right now. My shoes feel better, my sheets don’t hurt, I can stub my toe and it doesn’t hurt (the pain comes from your toenail digging into the cuticle, and I don’t have toenails anymore).

      Treat yourself. Be ready for some pain the first night, but it’s super short term and after that — IT FEELS SO MUCH BETTER.

  108. Maximoose

    I had my right big toe nail removed when i was 14 and it grew back and is infected. I’ve lived with it and got it on my other big toe as well, also infected, because i’m too scared to relive that procedure. I don’t know how todays’ world could differ but i had 6 needles in my toe, and remember feeling the first 4 vividly! I get shook just thinking about it however i can see how a fear of anything near my feet has had a huge affect on my development since then – poor me going through puberty and dating with toes that make that awful odeur lol. I’m now at 23 closing in 24 in march and i’m still terrified of the procedure. i know i’d be able to get probably about 2 potentially 3 weeks off work and just live in my bed while i recover, it just seems like it’s only worse from the first time i had it so maybe that’s why i’m sceptical.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      My feet and toes have hurt my entire life. I have wide feet, but no one ever noticed, so I wore too-narrow dress, school, and sport shoes for decades. I switched to Vibram Five Fingers in 2009 and my toe problems lessened, but the damage had been done.

      I remember crying at night when the sheets touched my toes. I remember stretching and stretching my calves, not knowing their spasms were caused my too-tight shoes. I remember not being able to run all that well, as I always had to buy shoes a little big to deal with the width issue.

      It was a days, weeks, months, and years long struggle in dealing with the annoyance and the pain.

      I can understand how the procedure looks scary, and it definitely is. But it’s worth it. I’ve gone four times now, and while it hasn’t hurt any less each time, it’s always been worth it for the relief I feel right now.

      It’s going to hurt, but it’s not going to hurt much more than it does now, and it WILL substantially subside over the course of healing.

      1. Maximoose

        I appreciate you sharing it all, and for taking the time to reply to me thank you ^_^
        Only other thing is you say you’ve gone four times, so are they not permanently fixed like once and for all?
        I’d hoped for a permanent solution needing no more attention than a healthy foot does =O

        1. Tyler Hurst

          I hadn’t yet figured out some other shoes I was wearing were the real problem, and my doctor wanted to be conservative in trimming the nails. By the fourth time, another doc agreed that trimming wasn’t going to work for me and she removed the whole nail.

          Hell, she even said that only 7% of patients ever have any re-growing issues, so I’m an outlier.

          1. Maximoose

            Ah i get ya, i’m hoping to have a whole nail permanently removed i care not for it’s aesthetics of it after, and to be honest the recovery pain is consistent and gradual which i’m pretty used to, it’s just the initial op, poking stabbing slicing pulling etc i can watch it no problem but to feel it makes me wanna hurl. Guess i’ll just have to go talk to my doc more and see what’s my options.
            Thank you for it all, and to everyone who’s written their experiences here.

          2. Tyler Hurst

            I received a numbing spray, then four shots. Then I got another four because I’m sensitive to pain.

            After that, even while watching her cut me up, I didn’t feel a goddamn thing.

            The scalpel cut wasn’t as deep as I thought, and really the only problem area is at the cuticle where the nail will be pulled off.

            That night, once the anesthetic wore off, it throbbed. After ice and rest, the next morning I was fine.

            Only pain after the initial surgery was my infection, which was caused by me moving around way too much.

            Good luck!

  109. Rela

    Hi, I removed my toe nail 8 days ago. Two days ago Dr told me stop wrapping it with gauze and leave it unwrapped at home during the day and night, and only wrap it when I have to wear shoes. He gave me a cream, which is for skin infection, to use 1-2 times per day. There is a yellowish thick squishy skin on top of my nail bed, but I dont have pain. Is that normal or it may be infection?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That’s the new skin. I trimmed the edges slightly, but mostly left it alone and eventually it fell off, painlessly, as it healed.

      Mine wasn’t painful, either.

      1. Rela

        Thanks for the reply.
        Since from the beginning I didn’t use any epsom salt or cream I was worried 🙂

        1. Tyler Hurst

          The epsom salt usually quickens the healing process (not always necessary), any cream is usually antibiotic for infection (not necessary in all cases).

          Sounds like you’re doing well!

  110. Laura Garcia

    Hi Tyler, thanks for your post, pics and explanations 🙂 I’ve been removed my left toe nail yesterday morning and, apart from the shots, I had no pain at all and slept well.

    This morning I couldn’t feel my toe at all so I cut the dressing (thought was too tight and 24 hours had been pass already)… I almost fainted because of the excruciating pain… this last for one hour, crying non stop and after subside slowly, but pain is still there after 10 hours (and taking iboprufen). Still don’t remove the forward part of the bandage because just think on soak it in water (is stick to the flesh) make me shiver as mad.

    I will dress it again and will soak and remove full tomorrow 🙁

    I have sick leave for 7 days but start thinking I am going to need more…

  111. Ty

    Hello. Finally had my toenail removed few hours ago…Was given five painful shot before it was removed & right now i’m feeling this crazy throbbing pain that goes on & off even after using the prescribed drugs…This is like the most painful experience of my life.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That’s the part that sucked for me. I alternated between ice and raising my foot until I fell asleep (this took two hours, I slept for maybe three).

      In the morning, I soaked and took off the bandage, and it never hurt like that again.

      But yeah, your toe has been through a lot!

  112. Ty

    It’s been over 2 weeks since my toenail surgery but i still feel dis burning/ache/cramp/throbbing pain in there not everytime but most of the time. Is this normal? If yes,how long do you think it will go away completely?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Those are a lot of pains.

      Most of the time? If it hurts most of the time, I’d go have it checked out, unless you can tie that to a shoe or specific activity that may be causing flare ups.

      Also, your toe should still be sore, mine was for six weeks, but shooting pain or anything super constant is a red flag.

  113. Ty

    Yea,it doesn’t look infected at all infact d skin looks like it’s healing up nice. I can’t just explain what’s causing the pain

    1. Tyler Hurst

      1. Check your shoes to make sure they’re not too tight.
      2. Remember your toe experienced massive trauma pretty recently.
      3. Have you been walking on it more than you should? Be honest.

      Ice helped me.

  114. Ty

    1. I’ve not worn any kind of shoes since the surgery. I’ve been wearing flip-flops slippers & a sandal which also look more like flip flops.

    2. I’m a teacher & i resumed to work 5 days after d surgery. So,yes,i guess i’ve been standing & walking on it more than i should.

    & it’s like d pain medication i use doesn’t seem to help much anymore.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      1. Cool.
      2. Yup, this happened to me the time I got infected (happened right way, you’re well past the worry stage now).
      3. Yeah, I used plant-based options, because mine stopped working, too.

      See if foot exercises for runners help. Your toe is just in pain and your foot is still tensed up, so it might be as “simple” as massive soreness from a tensed, sensitive area.

      Are you soaking at all?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Cannabis for pain. Vaporizing during the day, smoking before bed, high-cbd edibles as often as possible.

      Helps with the relaxation and tenseness surrounding the area, which is the majority of the pain reasons.

  115. Laura Garcia

    Hey again! Already 3 weeks since I removed my left toe nail and this is going so slow… still in pain but just in the afternoon when I come back from work. Yes I walk and yes maybe the shoe is tight… but I have no choice 🙁 Just five more days and will get 2 weeks vacation so hopefully will get some rest.

    I’m a bit worry because my toe is still numbing and don’t know if it’s normal after 3 weeks… looks dark pink ( was almost purple-black before) and a little swollen. Doesn’t look infected though.

    My next appointment with the doctor is on Wednesday, let’s see then 🙂

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yeah, shoes are always tough, I was fortunate to be in AZ most surgeries.

      Dark pink from purple-black is very good, that means healing.

      Numbness wise, are you talking the wound area, the toe, or the toe and the area around it?

        1. Tyler Hurst

          Okay, that sounds very similar to how mine felt and my toe healed great.

          In my case, the numbness lessened as the color changed to normal and the swelling went down.

          It sounds like you’re right on track.

          1. Laura Garcia

            Great! Feel more released now. I think the main problem is the lack of information, your experience and answers are being really helpful for me.

            Patience is not my best virtue neither…

          2. Tyler Hurst

            I freaked out constantly during recovery from my first two surgeries, so I totally understand.

            I also didn’t heal as quickly as everyone else’s doc seemed to say they would, either.

            Glad to at least quell some of your worry.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      My doc let me pay in cash at the lowest Medicaid reimbursement, which was either $125 or 175 at the time.

      I paid in installments the first two times, but after that, I had insurance.

  116. Jermaine

    Hi i had my big toenail removed and the 3rd toenail removed on my left foot 7 days ago now im in extreme pain feels like my foot is on fire with daggers in them! The pain killers aren’t helping much.The surgery has prescribed me antibiotics which have been taking for 2 days now how long do reckon before the pain eases?

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Sounds like an infection. Ugh.

      I started to feel better in either 3 or 4 days, but I know it hurt for a week after I started the antibiotics. Less so each day.

  117. Jermaine Gordon

    Ok i have been back each day for re dressings do you think if i had the bandage off to dry it out when home would that help as of since the surgery it has always been kept in a bandage?

  118. Julia

    great resource here! Did you have major itching and black skin near the nail bed after your partial nail removal? My nail bed where the phenol was applied is so itchy but I am trying to leave the area alone because messing with it irritates it. no throbbing so I don’t think its infected.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      Yes. For me, that was the skin killed by the shots and phenol, which was pushed up and out by new skin growing from within.

      Mine faded like a bruise.

  119. Elaine

    I had one side on both my second toes removed about a month ago. Very slow in healing. The side of the surgery is dark blue. There is no seepage and doesn’t smell. Hurts a little now and then. Been on antibiotics for three weeks now. Still soaking and or washing daily. Let it air about half a day and the other half I bandage with triple antibiotic.
    Seems to be healing so slowly that it concerns me. I am 63 years old and know that you don’t heal so quickly as you did when younger.

    1. Tyler Hurst

      That’s a long time to be on antibiotics, I hope there’s not some raging infection below the surface you’re still fighting, but that would explain the slower healing.

      Do you leave it unwrapped at night? Iodine packets helped dry up my wound.

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