Will My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

Redness or pain in the skin near your toenail might be an early warning sign of an ingrown toenail. While common, ingrown toenails sometimes don’t heal on their own. The bigger question is whether you could need medical treatment to prevent additional problems.


At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy and Highland, Utah, our double board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon, Scott Shelton, DPM, offers comprehensive care for painful, ingrown toenails that you can’t treat at home.


Dr. Shelton can also provide resources to reduce your risk for recurrent toenail complications, which are especially important in those with diabetes or other diseases that affect your ability to heal.


How to recognize an ingrown toenail


An ingrown toenail describes a nail that grows into the skin around your nail bed. The deeper the nail grows into the skin, the more serious your symptoms become.


You may be prone to ingrown toenails if you wear shoes that are too tight or if you injure your toenail. Poor nail hygiene can also contribute to ingrown nails. Cutting nails at an angle may cause nails to grow down into the skin instead of up and over it.


In the early stages of an ingrown toenail, you might be able to see the area where your nail embeds into your skin. There may also be swelling, redness, and pain around the toe. As the nail grows, the skin around your nail may ooze pus or blood. You may not be able to wear socks or shoes comfortably, and pain can interfere with your mobility.


Ideally, you want to schedule an evaluation at Alpine Foot & Ankle before the nail embeds deeply in the skin to prevent infection. If you have diabetes, poor blood circulation, or heart disease, schedule an appointment as soon as you notice the start of an ingrown toenail.


Home versus in-office nail treatments


You can often treat an ingrown toenail at home if you notice it right away. Home care involves soaking your foot in warm water a few times daily to keep your nails soft. You can use sterilized clippers to trim the nail and a file to address sharp edges.


If the nail is too painful to treat or you have any discharge, Dr. Shelton recommends you visit the office rather than trying to treat the nail on your own. He can treat any existing infection before it spreads and lifts your nail, so it grows away from your skin.


In more severe cases, Dr. Shelton may need to remove part or all of your nail during an in-office procedure. Nail removal is often necessary for patients with frequent ingrown toenails to prevent future recurrence.


If you have diabetes or other health conditions, Dr. Shelton may recommend regular foot checks to identify ingrown nails, cuts, and other injuries early. We offer specialized diabetic foot care services to lower your risk for non-healing ulcers and other podiatric complications.


Call Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy or Highland, Utah, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for an ingrown toenail or book a consultation online today.


If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.



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