Do Ingrown Toenails Go Away on Their Own?

Ingrown toenails are most common on your big toes, but you can have this uncomfortable condition on any of your toes. When you have an ingrown toenail, or onychocryptosis, the side or corner of your nail presses into the soft flesh on the side of your nail bed. This can cause pain, irritation, swelling, and redness and in some cases can lead to infections. 

At Town Center Foot & Ankle, our board-certified podiatrist Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer, DPM, (“Dr. Ike”) can help you get relief from ingrown toenails.

You might be able to take care of your own ingrown toenails using at-home treatments to manage your discomfort. But if your pain becomes severe or spreads, seek medical attention to avoid potential complications. Take extra care with ingrown toenails if you have blood flow problems in your feet, as seen with diabetes. 

Here's what you should know about handling an ingrown toenail and when to schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Painful symptoms

The main symptoms of an ingrown toenail are pain, discomfort, and tenderness, particularly along one or both sides of the affected nail. Redness and swelling can also appear. Left untreated, you can develop a deep infection in the tissue around your toenail that could become serious and even require surgery.

Why do some people get ingrown toenails? You might have a genetic predisposition to atypically curved nails, or you might have experienced an injury. Ingrown toenails can also result from poor foot care — for example, wearing tight shoes that crowd your toes or cutting your toenails improperly.

Take action to avoid complications

You might not need to go to the doctor, but you should take steps to address an ingrown toenail and protect yourself from discomfort and more serious complications. You may be able to resolve your problem at home. 

Try soaking the affected foot in lukewarm water two to three times per day for at least 15 minutes. You can also gently massage the affected toenail, slowly pressing the skin alongside your nail out and away from your nail bed.

But if your discomfort becomes severe or you see pus or signs of spreading redness around the tender area, it’s time to get a medical opinion. Our experienced care team at Town Center Foot & Ankle is here to help. 

After three to five days of at-home care, we may recommend more aggressive treatments, including:

If you're worried about an ingrown toenail, contact us at Town Center Foot & Ankle today. Dr. Ike can advise you on the best steps to take to resolve your foot and toenail problems. Book your appointment by calling our Kingwood or Atascocita, Texas, office or request a consultation with our online tool. We also offer telehealth appointments.

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