Toenail removal, also known as onychectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves the complete or partial removal of a toenail. There are various reasons why someone may need to undergo toenail removals, such as an ingrown toenail, fungal infection, or trauma to the nail. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about toenail removal.
Reasons for Toenail Removal
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. In severe cases, an ingrown toenail may lead to infection or even the loss of the toe. Toenail removal is often recommended to prevent these complications.
Fungal infections can cause the nail to become thick, discolored, and brittle. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other nails or even the surrounding skin. In some cases, toenail removal may be necessary to get rid of the infection.
Trauma to the toenail, such as dropping a heavy object on it or stubbing it, can cause the nail to become loose or even fall off. In some cases, toenail removal may be necessary to prevent infection or promote healing.
Toenail removal is typically performed in a doctor’s office or clinic under local anesthesia. The procedure usually takes less than an hour, depending on the extent of the nail removal.
Partial toenail removal
If only a portion of the toenail needs to be removed, the doctor will first numb the toe with a local anesthetic. Then, using a sterile instrument, the doctor will lift the edge of the nail and trim away the affected portion. The remaining nail will be left intact to grow back over time.
Complete toenail removal
If the entire toenail needs to be removed, the doctor will first numb the toe with a local anesthetic. Then, using a sterile instrument, the doctor will carefully lift the nail and remove it from the nail bed. The nail bed will then be treated with an antiseptic solution to prevent infection.
After the procedure, the toe will be wrapped in a sterile bandage, and the patient will be given instructions on how to care for the toe at home.
Recovery from toenail removal typically takes a few weeks. During this time, it’s essential to keep the toe clean and dry to prevent infection. The doctor may also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to help with pain and prevent infection.
It’s normal to experience some discomfort and swelling in the first few days after toenail removal. Applying ice to the toe and keeping it elevated can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
It’s also important to avoid activities that put pressure on the toe, such as running or jumping, for at least a week after the procedure. Most people can return to their normal activities within two to four weeks.
Toenail removal is generally a safe procedure, but like any surgery, there are some risks involved. Possible complications of toenail removal include infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. It’s essential to follow the doctor’s instructions for caring for the toe after the procedure to minimize these risks.
Improved Nail Growth
For those with severely damaged or misshapen nails, toenail removal can allow for the growth of a healthy new nail. This can improve the overall health of the toe and reduce the risk of future infections.
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
In some cases, toenail problems may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or psoriasis. Toenail removal can help to diagnose and treat these conditions, improving overall health and well-being.
Increased Comfort During Footwear
When toenails are thick, curved, or ingrown, they can create discomfort when wearing shoes. Removing the affected nail, it can make it more comfortable to wear shoes and reduce the risk of developing blisters or calluses.
Toenail removal may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including ingrown toenails, fungal infections, and trauma to the nail. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and takes less than an hour. Recovery takes a few weeks, and complications are rare but possible. If you’re experiencing toenail pain or discomfort, speak with your doctor to determine if toenail removal is right for you.