Continuing the toenail theme, this post covers a question many people ask- should I have my toenails removed?
Only you can answer that question. You know your feet better than anyone else and know the problems you have and what you have tried to remedy your problem with black toenails.
So let’s start with some basic advice. Before have your toenails removed, make sure you have tried some common sense tips. Shoes that are long enough in length and high enough in the toebox. Good toenail care. This means trimming nails short and then filing them smooth. I tell people that after trimming and filing, you should be able to run your fingertip over the edge of the toe and not feel the nail’s edge. Any edge can catch on your sock, and as your foot moves through the footstrike, the sock can force the nail backwards, leading to a black toenail.
After trying to fix the black toenail problem, without success, some people consider have their toenail(s) surgically removed. Others simply keep going, losing toenails time after time.
Tim Jantz, a podiatrist, describes the process of removing a toenail: After the toe is numbed, the nail is removed and the growth plate is treated with 89% phenol (some use sodium hydroxide) to destroy the growth plate. The area is then rinsed with alcohol and dressed with an antibiotic and a dressing. The usual post-operation care is daily soaks and dressing with a topical antibiotic and a Band-Aid for approximately four weeks, sometimes longer. The toe has endured a chemical burn and so heals by draining. It can have a raw feeling for a week or so, and I wouldn’t want to stub it or have anyone step on it for a few weeks. You may also want to wear roomy shoes or sandals for a week. The procedure is about 95% successful. An option is to find a doctor that uses a laser, but the only difference is higher cost.
If you are prone to black toenails and have tried all the options to prevent them, consult a podiatrist about nail removal.
In fair disclosure, I have all ten toenails.