6 Main Reasons Why You Might Get An Infection After A Toenail Removal

infection after a toenail removal

Yes. A toenail removal can start an infection

Right, now onto the next page :)

However, not all of the time.

If the procedure is to do with phenol destroying the nail bed (matrix), which is the procedure, and redressing regime that I am used to, and that is what I am basing everything off.

If you had the skin removed around the toe or someone just ripped out the nail (why?), then that aftercare is going to be relevant.

Here are the main reasons for a toe infection.

1. the redressing regime

When you have a professional toenail removal then the skin is open- you now have a wound. So if you leave something like that to the open air then it is likely to get infected.

Toenail removal procedures are simple to do but they are a surgical procedure and require follow-ups and dressings until that wound has healed.

If Phenol has been applied then healing is about 4-6 weeks. The body doesn't like the chemical burn so there is a discharge and the dressing usually needs to be redressed daily. In this instance, it is normal. Sometimes in the first few days the skin can look white especially if phenol went onto the skin- which usually it does, just by a tiny amount. Then as the weeks progress the amount of discharge decreases and the drying occurs from the tip of the toe down to the cuticle area.

If there is discharge then it needs a dressing as it suggests that the skin is open/ damaged.

2. salt water bathing

Some people like this, some don't. But you get saline solution (proper concentration salt water) and bathe your toe in that for 2 minutes to clean, and keep as clean as you can the area. You pad the area dry and then you do your redressing. Just having a redressing regime is OK but you need to clean the area, and that is usually with saline solution. If you dont keep infection down and keep the site clean then the risk of infection increases. Whoever did your nail should give you after care advice.

3. there might be some nail or debris left

It is possible that there could be some nail left in the area or some skin might be stopping the healing. If this is the case your healthcare provider should be able to see. This is one of the reasons why follow ups are a good idea. If it hasn't healed after 8 weeks, then it will probably need to be checked.

4. it actually might be infected

Infection is usually red, hot, swollen, sore and some discharge- but not always. Hence why follow ups are a very good idea. The phenol is a very powerful antiseptic so there is reduced likeliness of you getting something then is low. Infection usually occurs when the redressing procedure kicks in. Antibiotics are required.

There should be a little discomfort- you have something removed and it has left you with a wound, and walking on it lots won't help, but it shouldnt really be intolerable. So you need follow ups after the procedure and throughout the healing process.

5. you might have conditions that make toenail removal healing a little slow

Diabetes reduces your immunity and increases the length of healing. If you have poor circulation then healing chemicals are going to be slow in getting down to your toe. If you eat poorly then that also reduces how quick something heals

6. you leave it out in the open

Even if you are redressing the area some patients will leave their dressing off for a long time to "get air to it". For many years now we know that microbes are all around us and they cause infection. Any open wound is prone to getting infected if it is left to the "open air".

When you go for a bath of shower then you go in with your old dressing and then come out, then do the redressing regime.

Go back to the ingrown toenail page.