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Ingrown Toenail Removal

General Information

An ingrown toenail is known as onychocryptosis, caused when one or both edges of a toenail - usually on the big toe - grow deep into the flesh on the side/s of the toe. This process usually causes redness, tenderness, inflammation and sometimes infection. The most common causes for an ingrown toenail are clipping the toenails too close to the skin, wearing poorly fitted shoes or prior infection or injury to the toenail.

Reasons for Ingrown Toenail Removal

  • Remove infected toenail
  • Reduce pain
  • Restore function of the toe/s


On many occasions, your doctor will be able to visually diagnose an ingrown toenail just by observing the area.


Before attempting surgical removal of the toenail, your doctor may try to heal infection with antibiotics. When this fails to produce adequate results, removal of the toenail is typically indicated.

Your doctor may:

  • Remove skin surrounding the toenail
  • Remove a portion of the toenail
  • Remove the entire toenail

During the procedure, the doctor will:

  • Prepare the toe and cleanse with an iodine solution
  • Inject a local anesthetic
  • Toenail is separated from the cuticle with a nail elevator or end of surgical scissors
  • The nail is cut away from the nail bed
  • Electrocautery ablation is used to destroy the nail forming matrix where the nail plate has been removed
  • Excess or damaged nail bed tissue is irrigated and wiped away
  • Antibiotic ointment is applied to the area

What to Expect

You will be given antibiotic ointment to apply to the nail bed every day until the healing process is completed. You may be given a special slipper to wear until you're able to wear shoes. A new nail will grow in place of the removed toenail within a few weeks. You may be advised against exercising or moderate to vigorous activity for about a week following the removal of your toenail.