What is Nail Surgery?

It is a procedure most commonly used for people suffering from ingrown or mis-shapen nails. 

This involves the permanent removal of either ‘part’ or ‘all’ of your toenail, under local anaesthetic.

The Procedure:

  1. We take time to discuss the procedure again, and a consent form will need to be completed. 
  2. Time is taken to ensure the environment is as relaxed as possible for you, before the administration of the anaesthetic. 
  3. Two injections of local anaesthetic will be given at the base of your problematic toe(s). Ensuring they will be numb and pain free for several hours. 
  4. We pause to allow the toe time to become numb, then undertake detailed checks to ensure that the toe is completely numb before proceeding to the next step. 
  5. Once you cannot feel a thing, we will look to remove part or all of the nail, you can sit back, listen to music, read or play a computer game whilst we remove the offending piece of nail. 
  6. We then apply the chemical phenol, to the root of the nail which prevents that part of nail from regrowing. 
  7. A large pressure dressing will be applied and you will require open-toed footwear to accommodate it. You will me able to walk normally post surgery.
  8. Make sure someone else transports you home, and sit with your feet elevated for the remainder of the day. 

Advantages of Nail Surgery with Sole Food:

  • Preference – Ability to select the specific Podiatrist who undertakes the procuedure
  • Flexibility – Evening and Weekend appointments
  • Relaxed Atmosphere – we schedule out extra time, so that we can go at your pace. If you have anxiety we can take things slow and talk you through your hesitations. 
  • Peace of Mind – Direct Mobile/Email contact for any concerns pre and post procedure
  • Support – Follow up appointments to monitor progress.

Considerations Prior to booking:

HEALING: The average healing time is 4-8 weeks, providing you don’t have an infection. This is because of the chemical burn that is used to prevent the nail from growing again. 

During this time you will need to keep the toe dry and covered to help reduce the chances of infection. Please consider your ability to do this post surgery when selecting your surgery date.

FOOTWEAR POST SURGERY: You will have a large dressing on your toe 24-72 hours post surgery which will prevent you from wearing ‘normal’ shoes during this time. Please consider your school/work and if its possible to wear open toed shoes until you have it removed and go into a much smaller dressing. 

SWIMMING/WATER SPORTS/HOLIDAYS: If you are a keen swimmer, please be aware you will have to stop until the toe is healed. If you are off on a holiday with a pool and you are excited about some quality ‘pool time’ please discuss this with your podiatrist to help find the best time for scheduling your surgery, to enable optimal holiday fun. 

SPORTS: If you are an active sports person, please discuss this with your Podiatrist as you may need to reduce your activity to help with healing. Especially if your sports are in or around water.

Check list on day of surgery

TRANSPORT: Arrange transport to and from your appointment, you may not be insured to drive whilst your toe is numb.

CONSENT: Anyone under 16 must have a parent/guardian accompany them to give consent on their behalf.

FOOTWEAR: Bring open toed shoes/sandals to accommodate a large dressing

ENTERTAINMENT: Bring a book/tablet/phone to use during the procedure to help distract and calm you. People often find the use of headphones a great way to zone out, before, during and after the procedure. 

FOOD: Eat and drink normally before you attend your appointment, make sure to have had some food in the lead up to avoid risk of feeling light headed. 

TIMING: Allow 60-90 minutes for your procedure, we look to go at your pace, if you need extra time to relax before your anaesthetic, we cater for this and allow plenty of time to make sure your toe is numb before we proceed. 


  • Remove toe nail varnish, 
  • take your medication as usual, unless we have advised you differently at your assessment.
  • Inform us if there are any changes to your health or medication
  • Arrange childcare for young children, they are unable to be present during the procedure. 

IMPORTANT: Advise us if you have had anaesthetic in the last 24 hours prior to your nail surgery. eg dental treatment. 


Potential Complications/Risks

Nail Regrowth: This is uncommon but may occur in some cases.

Delayed Healing: Optimal healing is usually 4-8 weeks, but this can be longer depending on your age and medical conditions.

Phenol Burn: Occasionally the phenol spreads to the surrounding skin causing a blister

Infection: If the toe becomes red, hot, painful or swollen, seek advice from your podiatrist or GP

Adverse Reaction to anaesthetic: This is very rare, but you need to advise us if you have had any previous reactions or if this is your first time having local anaesthetic.

Nerve Irritation: In rare cases, the nerve can be damaged close to the injection site, causing temporary numbness or altered sensation for 12 months or more.


Nail surgery Check List