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Toenail/Fingernail Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2022.

You may need to have all or part of your nail removed. Nail removal can prevent infection, decrease ingrown nail pain, and help the nail heal from an injury.



  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antifungal medicine: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by a fungus. It may be given as a cream or a pill.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self care:

  • Elevate your hand or foot: Raise your hand or foot above the level of your heart as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand or foot on pillows to keep it raised comfortably.
  • Keep your wound clean and dry: When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the nail area with soap and water. Put on a clean, new bandage. Change your bandage any time it gets wet or dirty.
  • Rest your hand or foot: You may need to rest your hand or foot for a few days after your procedure. Ask when you can return to work or sports.
  • Prevent ingrown toenails: Do not trim your nails too short or round the corners of your nails. Put a thin cotton pad on the side of your toe in your shoe. This may help decrease pain, help prevent an ingrown nail, and make it more comfortable to walk.
  • Avoid nail trauma: Avoid wearing narrow-toed or tight-fitting shoes. Wear closed toed shoes when you do yard work or other physical work.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have pus coming from your wound.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath.

Learn more about Toenail/Fingernail Removal

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.