How bad does getting your nail removed hurt?

Oct 20, 2023

Understanding Nail Removal

Whether it's due to a severe infection, injury, or a chronic condition, the removal of a nail, medically known as nail avulsion, can be a daunting procedure for many. The first question that often comes to mind is, "How much will it hurt?" Let's dive into the details.

nail removal procedure
Fungal nail removed in the office under anesthesia

The Procedure of Nail Removal

Nail removal is usually performed under local anesthesia, which means you will be awake during the procedure, but the area around your nail will be numbed. This is generally done using a small injection. Once the area is numb, your doctor will use a tool to separate the nail from the nail bed and remove it.

Does the Procedure Hurt?

The idea of having a nail removed can sound painful. However, the actual procedure is typically pain-free. The most discomfort you're likely to feel is the sting of the anesthesia injection. After that, you shouldn't feel any pain during the nail removal.

local anesthesia injection
Pain Free Total Nail Avulsion Procedure

Post-Procedure Pain

Once the anesthesia wears off, you may start to feel some discomfort. The level of pain can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedure. Some people may feel a throbbing pain, while others may only experience mild discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication can usually manage this post-procedure pain effectively.

Healing and Recovery

Healing times can vary, but generally, a new nail will start to grow back within 3 weeks to 6 months. During the healing process, it's important to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. Your doctor may also recommend using a bandage or dressing to protect the area.

nail healing process
Toes wrapped in gauze dressing and self stick adhesive after procedure

Preventing Pain and Complications

There are several steps you can take to minimize pain and prevent complications after nail removal. These include:

  1. Following your doctor's aftercare instructions.
  2. Taking over-the-counter pain medication as recommended.
  3. Keeping the area clean and dry.
  4. Not picking at or disturbing the area.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While some discomfort is normal after nail removal, severe pain, excessive swelling, redness, or pus could be signs of an infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.


In conclusion, while the thought of nail removal can be intimidating, it's important to remember that the procedure itself is usually pain-free. Post-procedure pain can be effectively managed with over-the-counter medication, and following your doctor's aftercare instructions can help ensure a smooth recovery. Make your appointment toenail if you have fungal nails. Call 240-437-3861