Toenail removal

Essential equipment

Antiseptic1% lidocaine (without epinephrine)Iris scissorsHemostatAntibiotic ointmentNon-adherent dressingWrapDigit tourniquet


  1. Cleanse the toe with antiseptic.

  2. Administer a digital block.

  3. Use a tourniquet to provide a bloodless field.

  4. Separate the nail from the nail bed using iris scissors or hemostat, advancing and separating scissors held parallel to the nail bed.

  5. Split the nail lengthwise toward the cuticle.

  6. Grasp the end of the cut toenail with a hemostat and use a twisting motion to remove the free piece of nail.

  7. Inspect the remnant to make sure that the entire piece of nail has been removed as desired.

  8. Cover the wound with antibiotic ointment, a non-adherent dressing, and a dry sterile wrap.