Ingrown toenail procedures are by nature painless, because the toe is completely made numb by a local anesthetic before the procedure is performed. This numbing injection does sting and burn, usually no longer than 20 seconds. The toe will feel like it is filling with a hot fluid. Once the injection is complete, this sensation ends and the numbing begins. Everyone tolerates injections differently- some people barely feel them, and others have more anxiety about needles and seem to have a little more discomfort during the injection.
After the procedure is completed and the numbness wears off, some light soreness can be felt where the procedure was performed. In the first couple of days after the procedure, the toe can even throb a little. This is usually relieved with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Most people have just a little tenderness with direct pressure on the nail area for a week or two after the procedure, although some people feel no discomfort at all. For those whose ingrown toenails were very painful, there is nearly always a significant and immediate amount of relief. A very small number of people, especially those who do not follow the home care instructions, have somewhat more pain during the healing period after the procedure. This is typically due to an uncommon infection of the nail area after the procedure, or inflammation because of inadequate home care ( such as not soaking, or leaving the area to air dry instead of keeping it covered with antibiotic ointment and a band aid). Overall, though, most people successfully go through this procedure with little to no discomfort.