Removing Toenails

I was just clipping my toenails and had a random thought, why not just remove them so I never have to clip them again? As far as I can tell, they serve no purpose and are completely vestigial. They are often removed in cases of extreme fungal infection or ingrown nails, so why not for convenience? I guess you have to weigh whether the one time pain and recovery of removal is worth a lifetime of never trimming them again. Man, I feel so lazy now that I type this out, but I really hate trimming my toe nails.


  • >~< 

    Toenails are evolved to shield the nerve sensitive ends of the toes from damage. It's a form of armor to protect some of the most sensitive areas of our bodies from damage. If you were to drop say, a soup can on your big toe, that nail could be the difference between a nasty bruise and a lot of pain, or a trip to the emergency room with half of the tip of your toe cut off and absolutely excruciating pain from so many nerves being damaged at once... D:>

    Shoes definitely reduce their necessity and utility in modern society, but there's been times they have saved me. :o

    Mileage may vary, but the best way to look at toenails is to look at fingernails, and translate everything a fingernail does to your toe.  ^^

    My two cents on the far as removal... This could be messy... :s
  • Yeah I don't gross out easy, but this one got the better of me....
  • The nerves would desensitize over time, similar to the way the glans does after circumcision. I don't think toenails really evolved for that purpose either, granted this is something thats hard to know for sure, but it seems more likely to me that they are just vestigial claws. I've had toe/finger nails ripped out a few times, and its definitely a very sensitive and incredibly painful experience, but after a few weeks the skin hardens and the sensitivity goes away while the nail regrows.
  • If you plan to play around with this.. you can apply "Nair" to the nail and leave it on for a while. It will remove structural strength in the nail and make it all floppy and fucked up. See how this is for a while first. Maybe you'll like it.. or maybe you'll find nails are a good thing.

    I'd personally rather go the other direction. Velociraptor fucking claw toes.
  • Interesting, didn't think about nair.
    I probably will not go through with this, it seems like a pretty big procedure just to save yourself an hour of time over the course of your life time. It could possibly have applications in long term space travel though.
  • @cassox Sign me up for Velociraptorification! >3<
  • dude, this is slightly related to another idea I was running by Cassox a while back wherein I was considering transplanting a toenail and nail bed onto my shoulder to see if it would work. I think the consensus was no. But you should consider it if you decide to remove toenails. I mean, it's kind of a waste of good toenails if you don't, right?

    But lidocaine is a must. I passed out one time removing an ingrown toenail. It was so swollen and painful.
  • on the topic of Raptor talons, Snicks the manwhore (maybe not on the forums?) lost the tip of his finger as a kid and part of the nail bed remained. So now he literally grows a conical talon from his pinky. I think that might work for toes too, but there might be better ways.
  • Ok I should add this just because directorx mention the talon toenail.

    My little toenail grows up and out like one also. I keep it cut/ground down so it doesn't catch on anything as it gets very annoying very fast.
  • Personally I use a dremel to do my big toe nail. Grind it down in seconds.
  • Meanderpaul, rip that thing out! I'll do it, if you do it.
  • ahh hells no.
  • hi eggit. This post caught my eye because I in fact did remove my toenails. I always thought they were gross and felt weird and I got so tired of having them that I took a pair of pliers to them and pulled them out.

    Yes it's true that stubbing them hurts more without toenails (and of course the removal process is painful in and of itself). Also they bleed a LOT, like a crazy lot, when you take them out so if you do decide to remove them, be prepared for the mess.

    They stay gone for awhile but now that it's been a few years, all but the nails on my big toes have grown back.

    The easiest way I found to remove them was to soak my feet in warm water first, and then use the pliers (I used needle-nose jewelry pliers) to pull them out, pulling from the cuticle parallel to the nail bed. Yank hard and fast and they should come out pretty easily. Be prepared to wash them clean and bandage them because like I said they'll bleed a lot and you don't want them to get infected. After they heal up though they're nice and smooth and soft for months.
  • I really hoped this thread would stay dead because I cringe every time I read a post in it....
  • edited October 2016
    Yea, I've ripped some off on accident before. So I am familiar with how much they bleed. Soaking them first is a pretty good idea.
    Have you tried applying sodium hydroxide to the nail bed to prevent regowth?
    What do you mean by pulling from the cuticle? The cuticle is the base of the nail, and I can't envision how you could grip it without cutting away skin first.

    I am not sure how serious I am trying this, but now that Meanderpaul has weighed in I'm going to make sure this thread stays bumped.
  • Is he trolling?
  • specify who?
  • I'm afraid I still can't understand why someone would rip out toenails. Or anything that's in perfectly good condition. I've considered removing teeth if they could be replaced by an artificial tooth that also performed other functions (bone conducting speaker and microphone for a sort of implantable earpiece), but never toe nails. I'll admit I thought it'd be cool to have metal finger nails that sharp blades that popped out a bit, but I never thought I'd remove a perfectly good body part just for giggles. I'd remove a problematic part, for instance my appendix is absent.

    If bones didn't have important parts in them and were just solid bones, I'd have as many as possible replaced with some sort of metal bones. Again though, if it works fine, I'd keep it. Personally, I trim my toenails once a month. Roughly. Fingernails, twice a month. My hair grows like crazy though, falling out all over everything. (I bing it up because of the relation between the three.)
  • There seems to be a fair amount of reductionism that floats around here. The whole, sleep/food/toenails/whatever is a waste of my time so let's remove it. Not a fair amount of information about why it's a good idea (because it usually isn't), it just kinda shows up.
  • I try to get my tonsils out every time I go to the doc it never works tho..

    Uh, the one casually talking about ripping their toenails off with jewelry pliers ? I'm prob just dumb though.
  • From my highschool biology crass I learned that the fingernails provide support to the fingers since the bones in the end only go about a third of the way to the end of the finger. When you grab anything the nails provide resistance to keep it from being like trying to grab something with floppy sausages. From the way my feet move and the nails discolor from blood displacement when I walk similar to when I pick something up, I believe toenails may serve the same purpose. 
  • I've lost a few nails, the one on my big toe, middle toe(twice) and my thumb. Without the nail the finger/toe feels very sensitive and hurt when bumping into things. And after a week or two when the sensitivity goes down the nail is already growing back. (yes, fully removed nails grow back)

    One thing positive, i found missing nails are not even that weird looking, especially on the toes they are hardly noticeable. On the other hand, missing the nail on my thumb felt like a real handicap. I felt like wearing a really clumsy glove for weeks. Cant really see anything good about pulling them out without a very good reason.

  • It would be a lot of pain to avoid something I have to do maybe once a month for a few minutes.
  • @Jupiter, I see it as similar to laser hair removal. Some people find constant shaving or waxing to be a lot of upkeep, so they permanently avoid the hassle.

    @larry and cube, Interesting thought about the nail providing support. I know the clumsy glove experience you talk about with fingers, but I don't remember feeling any ill effects a week out after having toe nails ripped off.
  • @glims: Considering how our society puts emphasis on "efficiency" and "productivity" (esp. our attitude towards sleep deprivations and things like "sleep is for the weak") you're surprised?
  • Sorry for the delayed response.
    eggit - to answer your question, I'm sorry that I was unclear. I'll try to explain. Basically, you want to get a solid grip on your toenail as close to the base of the nail as possible. As in, as close to the cuticle. Don't actually pull up the cuticle (unless you want to I guess??). And instead of pulling up and away, which would be a peeling motion or perpendicular to the nail bed, try to yank the nail out parallel to the nail bed, which would be outward as seen from the cuticle. If you'd like, I can try to draw a diagram for you. -- Peeling away perpendicular to the nail bed is more painful *in my experience* than pulling outward. Like you're extracting a tooth I guess (though my only experience with losing teeth was losing my baby teeth).
    And as regards sodium hydroxide: No, I never thought about applying anything to the nail bed after the removal of the nail to prevent regrowth. The only thing I've consistently applied after removal has been alcohol, soap and water, and antibiotic ointments.

    actii if you were asking if I'm trolling: I promise you I'm not.

    To the people who asked why do this... I don't know, *shrug* honestly I just don't like my toenails. I really really don't like them. I think they're disgusting honestly and I'd rather rip them out once a year than have them growing on my toes at all ever. - To which end, I'd also like to mention that after having removed a few of them more than a couple of times, it just doesn't hurt that much after awhile (probably nerve damage?); this past week, I removed another of my toe nails that was bothering me, and it was sore for a day and a half but after that, didn't feel like anything. So to me, personally, it's just not that big a deal anymore.
  • I get it, no need for a picture. We are grossing people out enough as is.
    Sodium hydroxide seems to be the standard way that doctors kill off the nail bed.I'd be curious to hear back from you if you ever gave it a try.

    Its interesting to hear someone had the same thought as me. Still not sure if I want to go through with it.
  • edited October 2016
    I guess we all have our own ways of dealing with things. Personally I'd like little nanites crawling in my head hair to keep it short (i figure if there's microscopic bits of hair falling off all the time, it would just end up like dead skin cells or dust that supposedly falls off our bodies all the time, no one would ever notice it). More so I'd like some sort of (possibly slightly larger) robot to crawl around in my mouth to clean my teeth. I think it would both be more hygienic than me brushing my teeth, and it'd save me a bit of time, it could also be done after any time I eat, which is way more often than I brush my teeth manually. I have seen this company that'll do a scan and 3D print a giant brush thing that fits around all your teeth simultaneously (custom fit to your teeth, hence the scanning) and supposedly does the job of a 2 minute tooth brushing in 2 seconds of wiggling it around for a moment. Personally, brushing my teeth doesn't take that long, so anything short of a permanent solution to the "body care" function, isn't worth the time.

    EDIT: The robot in the mouth thing (possibly coupled with all artificial teeth) is something I'd consider having a perfectly good tooth replaced with (going under the assumption here that, when not actively cleaning teeth, it fit inside some sort of cavity or recess ("cavity" sounds bad when talking about teeth) inside a couple of artifical teeth that were put in in place of perfectly good teeth specifically for that purpose. I actually did some research on artificial teeth (since I already knew that was actually a hint some people have) a while back (just for the topic of artificial teeth being stronger and easier to keep clean) and decided I wasn't too fond of the idea when I realized that they were implanted by first having a sort of mount screwed into the bone above or below where the teeth go, depending on upper or lower jaw, I didn't particularly like that idea. But now that I think about it, that might be because most tooth implants are put in to replace teeth that have fallen out on their own, possibly due to a gum condition that prevents the teeth from staying on their own, so the artificial teeth are out in specifically because normal teeth can't be attached in that way, which would open the possibility that healthy gums could hold artificial teeth on their own. I also saw a somewhat freakish looming picture recently of a very young child's skull (with nothing on it) such that you could see the cavities in the skull where the adult teeth form before moving into the mouth area. It looked freakish, the same way a pomegranate looks freakish, in my opinion. But I was thinking about that and wondered, if the bone that grows to fill in those cavities is hollower... basically did someone else think this before me and thought, "we can screw into that without causing major damage to the jaw bones", which would also be an argument against my immediate negative thoughts about screwing something into the jaw.

    All things considered, if I didn't feel it (aneasthetic) during the required surgery, and it didn't like, hurt frequently afterwards, and didn't deform my gums drastically, I could see the whole screwing into the jaw thing. I have several implant ideas that would be great if they could be mounted to or simply be the teeth in the mouth.

    EDIT: My previous EDIT was longer than my original reply... perhaps I should have just done another post... oh well...
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