How to remove a toenail

The bond between a person and his big toenail can be a beautiful thing, offering warmth, protection, and companionship. But all things must pass. If the time arises to part with one’s toenail, here are some tips on how to make the parting less painful. I caution that I am not a medical doctor; nor do I play one on television. 

1. After the race, gently insert a sterilized needle under the toenail, to pop and drain the blisters under the nail. This will relieve pressure on the nail, and restore considerable sensation to the big toe underneath.

2. Wait two or three weeks.

3. The new nail will bud under the nail, and the old nail will gradually loosen.

4. Signs that the toenail is ready to be removed: white cadaverous colour; independent movement under sock; independent water flow under toenail at pool and in bath.

5. Sterilize a set of needle-nosed pliers in boiling water.

6. Draw a hot bath.

7. Soak in bath.

8. Insert pliers under toenail. Gently and slowly pull toenail up and to the side. If there is blood, pain, and/or resistance, defer procedure for a few days.

9. Toenail should slide out of toe casing akin to a CD out of a tight CD case.

10. Photograph toe, toenail, and pliers.

11. Show toenail and pliers to wife and children. Points for creatively and nonchalantly leaving same lying around house on wife’s dresser, kitchen counter, computer desk, etc.

12. Save toenail or fashion it into creative memento.

Thanks to Pete Villella (also not a medical doctor) for coaching me through this process. And for a more rough method of toenail removal, see Ferg Hawke‘s method at 1:10 of Rob Letson’s most excellent The Distance of Truth trailer.


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