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Care after toenail removal


About toenail removal

If your child has a toenail problem, the doctor might need to remove the toenail. This is done in the St. Jude Procedure Room. The doctor might remove the whole toenail or just the edges (nail borders). Then he puts a chemical on the area to keep the nail from growing back. This chemical creates something similar to a burn at the root of the toenail. About 94 percent of the time the nail or ingrown borders do not grow back.

After the procedure, the area might be red and swollen, and a blister might form on your child’s toe. The blister might drain, and any toenail that was left might be loose for a while.

Read below to find out how to care for your child after toenail removal.

Home care on the day of toenail removal

After your child has the procedure, it is important to keep the foot dry and keep the bandages on. Have your child rest with the foot up as much as possible.

You might notice some blood on the bandage on the day of the procedure. This is normal, but you can call the St. Jude Podiatry Clinic at 901-595-5372 if you have questions.

Home care the day after toenail removal

The day after your child’s toenail removal, you need to take off the bandage and soak the toe. Follow these steps:

  1. Take off all the bandage material. You can use warm water to help soften any material that sticks to the toe.
  2. Make a solution of 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts in 2 quarts of warm water. Put the solution in a large bowl, pan, or other clean container that is big enough for your child to soak the foot. You may also soak in plain warm water.
  3. Have your child soak the toe in the solution for 15 minutes.

Next, you need to put on a new bandage. Follow these steps:

  1. Dry the foot completely.
  2. Put a small amount of antibiotic ointment on a piece of square silk bandage.
  3. Put the silk over your child’s toe so the antibiotic goes on the place where the toenail was removed.
  4. Put a toe sock over the toe and tape it loosely to your child’s foot. The Podiatry Clinic staff can show you how to do this. Be careful not to tape the sock on tightly. Your child’s toe will heal better if the sock is not tight.

Take off the bandage, soak the toe, and put on a clean bandage every day until your child sees the doctor again. It is important to go back to the Podiatry Clinic to have the toe checked, even if everything looks fine to you. The doctor needs to make sure your child’s foot is healing correctly.

Giving medicine after toenail removal

If the doctor gave you pain medicine or a prescription for your child, be sure to give it exactly the way the doctor told you. If your child still has pain, the doctor can tell you which medicines are safe for your child. If you have questions, call the St. Jude Podiatry Clinic at 901-595-5372.

If your child has a prescription for antibiotic medicine, it is important to get it filled and give your child all the medicine, even if he feels well before the antibiotic is gone. This medicine will help keep your child from getting an infection.


If you have questions, please call the St. Jude Podiatry Clinic at 901-585-5372.

Adapted for use from Wolf River Family Footcare, by permission.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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