Partial toenail removal, also known as partial toenail avulsion, is a common medical procedure performed to address various nail-related issues. Whether you have an ingrown toenail, a fungal infection, or another nail condition that requires partial removal, it’s natural to wonder when you can start walking again after the procedure. In this article, we’ll explore the details of partial toenail removal and discuss the timeline for resuming your normal activities.

What Is Partial Toenail Removal?

Partial toenail removal involves the surgical removal of a portion of the toenail. This procedure is typically done to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with conditions like ingrown toenails or severe fungal infections. It may be performed by a podiatrist or another medical professional with expertise in foot care.

Reasons for Partial Toenail Removal:

Several conditions may necessitate partial toenail removal:

  1. Ingrown Toenails: When the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, it can cause pain, redness, and infection. Partial toenail removal can alleviate these symptoms.
  2. Fungal Infections: In some cases, fungal infections can become so severe that they damage the toenail beyond repair. Removing the affected portion can help manage the infection and promote healthy nail growth.
  3. Trauma: If you’ve experienced trauma to your toenail, such as dropping a heavy object on it, your nail may need to be partially removed to address any damage or deformities.

The Procedure:

The procedure for partial toenail removal typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anaesthesia: Before the procedure begins, a local anaesthetic is administered to numb the toe. This ensures that you won’t feel any pain during the removal process.
  2. Nail Trimming: The medical professional will trim the affected portion of the toenail using specialized tools.
  3. Nail Matrix Removal (Optional): In some cases, the nail matrix (the tissue responsible for nail growth) may be partially removed to prevent the ingrown nail from regrowing. This step depends on the severity of the condition.
  4. Dressing and Bandaging: After the nail is removed, the area is cleaned, and a sterile dressing is applied to protect the wound.

Can You Walk Immediately After?

The ability to walk immediately after partial toenail removal depends on several factors, including the extent of the procedure and your individual pain tolerance. In most cases:

  • You can expect some discomfort and mild pain immediately after the procedure due to the local anaesthesia wearing off.
  • It’s generally safe to walk, but you should do so with caution to avoid putting excessive pressure on the treated toe.
  • You may experience some bleeding and oozing from the wound site, which is normal. The dressing applied by the medical professional will help control this.
  • Your medical provider will likely recommend limiting physical activity, especially activities that involve prolonged standing or walking, for the first few days following the procedure.

However, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s post-procedure instructions carefully. If you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, or signs of infection, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Post-Removal Care:

Proper post-removal care is crucial for a smooth recovery. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. Keep the Dressing Clean and Dry: It’s essential to keep the dressing clean and dry to prevent infection. Your doctor will provide instructions on when and how to change the dressing.
  2. Elevate Your Foot: Elevating your foot can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Try to keep your foot elevated whenever you’re resting.
  3. Avoid Tight Footwear: While your toe heals, opt for loose-fitting, comfortable shoes that won’t put pressure on the affected area.
  4. Pain Management: If you’re experiencing pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. Follow their dosage instructions carefully.
  5. Follow-up Appointments: Be sure to attend any follow-up appointments scheduled with your medical provider to monitor the healing process and remove sutures or dressings when necessary.

Risks and Complications:

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with partial toenail removal. These can include:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia
  • Nail regrowth issues
  • Scarring
  • Prolonged pain or discomfort

When to Consult a Doctor:

If you experience any of the following symptoms after partial toenail removal, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, warmth, or pus discharge
  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t stop with gentle pressure
  • Severe pain that doesn’t improve with pain medication
  • Foul odour or unusual discharge from the wound


Partial toenail removal is a common and generally safe procedure performed to address various nail-related issues. While you can typically walk immediately after the procedure, it’s crucial to exercise caution and follow your doctor’s post-procedure instructions for a smooth and complication-free recovery. If you have any concerns or experience unusual symptoms during the healing process, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare provider for guidance and support.

By Mohsin Ali

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