Toenail Removal

Toenails may need to be removed because of injury, infections, or to correct abnormal growth. A special non-stick bandage will likely be put tightly on your toe to prevent bleeding. Often times a new nail will grow back. Sometimes the new nail may be deformed. Most of the time when a nail is lost, it will gradually heal, but may be sensitive for a long time.


  • Keep your foot elevated to relieve pain and swelling. This will require lying in bed or on a couch with the leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner with the leg up. Walking or letting your leg dangle may increase swelling, slow healing, and cause throbbing pain.

  • Keep your bandage dry and clean.

  • Change your bandage in 24 hours.

  • After your bandage is changed, soak your foot in warm, soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes. Do this 3 times per day. This helps reduce pain and swelling. After soaking your foot apply a clean, dry bandage. Change your bandage if it is wet or dirty.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • See your caregiver as needed for problems.

You might need a tetanus shot now if:

  • You have no idea when you had the last one.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot before.

  • The injured area had dirt in it.

If you need a tetanus shot, and you decide not to get one, there is a rare chance of getting tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious. If you did get a tetanus shot, your arm may swell, get red and warm to the touch at the shot site. This is common and not a problem.


  • You have increased pain, swelling, redness, warmth, drainage, or bleeding.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have swelling that spreads from your toe into your foot.