What If I Have an Ingrown Toenail and Am Unable to Wash My Feet?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Recently I had a situation with my right toe. I developed an ingrown toenail, leading to the toe eventually swelling and filling up with pus…

The doctor recommended that I only wash my feet a few centimeters ahead of where the femur meets the foot and not beyond that.

Here are my questions:

  1. If I follow his advice, would my wudu be accepted?
  2. Would it be preferable to do tayammum until I recover?
  3. The recovery may take a few weeks to a month. What should I do if I have to perform a ghusl during that time?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

As a general rule, you must wash the areas you are able to wash without difficulty or fear of harm and wipe other areas with a wetted hand, if able.

If unable because of difficulty or fear of harm, you can leave it, and your wudu will be valid.

Answer 1

You can follow his advice and wash until where the femur meets. However, if you can wash up to just before the toes with a wet cloth or wet hand, it will be cautionary to do so without difficulty.

Answer 2

No, dry ablution will not be allowed, as you can wash all your other limbs, and you are perfectly able with mobility.

Answer 3

When you need to shower or do an obligatory bath, cover your feet with a bag, etc., so water does not touch the area, sit down and wash so you can lift your feet, or maybe take assistance from your wife if you are married. [Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ‘Ala Maraqi al-Falah]

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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.