Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery Expectations


Ingrown toenail surgery is provided on an outpatient basis and as such recovery is fairly straightforward.  As mentioned previously on other pages of this website, recovery and other factors are dependent upon the extent of the ingrown toenail and the type of surgery required.

Surgical treatment that does not disturb the nail matrix and merely involves the removal of the nail sliver usually takes around a week for the nail margin area to heal.  Although patients will be able to walk out of the doctor’s office under their own power and place weight on their feet, walking will be uncomfortable. Notable healing and substantial improvement will occur in the twenty-four hour period following the surgery.  However, immediately following the surgery and after the numbing agent wears off, you will experience some main that may need to be medicated with over the county pain medication.

A matricectomy requires a little bit more healing time and can extend beyond three weeks in duration as the toe recovers from the trauma and the nail heals.  And for considerable duration following the procedure individuals will encounter significant tenderness and have sensitivity to hot and cold water.

It is important to distinguish between recovery equating to the absence of pain and discomfort during the course of normal daily activities and the absence of pain while encountering more strenuous activity. Individuals who work in a demanding occupation or lead an active lifestyle with lots of athletic activity or exercise are going to have to patiently wait for the healing process to run its course.

As the old adage goes, if it hurts when you do something…stop doing it.

Timeline Summary for Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery:

  • Day 1 - Regardless of which procedure you have, you will be able to walk out under your own power.  Though you will probably be able to drive your vehicle just fine, you might want to consider having a friend or family member join you at the doctor’s office so that they can drive you home.
  • 1-2 Weeks – Patients undergoing a partial toenail removal without disturbing the nail matrix can typically expect healing to occur over a period of 7-14 days
  • 2-8 Weeks – Patients with particularly problematic ingrown toenail conditions may have extended recovery time frames, especially if infection interrupts the healing process
  • 8+ Weeks – Patients requiring a full nail avulsion with destruction of the nail matrix may require more than 2 months to adequately heal.

These timelines can also be negatively impacted by the stress and strain individuals place on their healing toe(s) in the workplace or in extracurricular pursuits.


CREDIT: TheGirlsNY via Flickr

For more information about ingrown toenail surgery, please return to the homepage.

4 thoughts on “Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery Expectations

  1. Its my second week now and am still lying on my back,tis damn painful cant even get some sleep ;-(

  2. Its been 4 weeks since I had both big toenails removed with acid applied so the nails will hopefully not grow back. The healing process has been a bitch but luckily I’m a stay at home mom and haven’t had to deal with that hot mess. As of right now, I still have uncomfortable pain and tenderness and the nail bed still hasn’t healed completely. Mainly where they had to use the acid solution. Both of the sides where the nail was have healed completely but in the middle where the nail bed is and where the nail grows out from are still touchy, open wounded with some drainage still. I can’t wait for this to be finally over!!! Guess I’m half way out of the woods!!

  3. I just got mine done today, but just the inside strips. The shots hurt but after that was fine. They just are so sore now!! Doctor told me to soak them in Epsom salts and I’m worried it’s going to hurt.

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