If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, then you know how painful they can be. Unfortunately, ingrown toenails are an incredibly common issue that many people face at one time or another. For some individuals, they can become a chronic problem.
If you’re dealing with an ingrown toenail, or have in the past, then you might be wondering, Do ingrown toenails go away naturally? Fortunately, the answer is that they can with the right care. However, in some cases, permanent removal of the ingrown nail is necessary to prevent reoccurrence.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are notorious for popping up seemingly out of nowhere and causing pain. It might seem silly to think something so minor could cause extreme discomfort, but the fact is that ingrown toenails can be incredibly debilitating.
Signs of an ingrown toenail can include:
- Sharp pain at the nail edge
- Inflammation on one or both sides of the toe
- Signs of infection, including redness, swelling, and pus at the edge of the toenail
- Limited mobility due to discomfort/tenderness in the area
- Unable to wear certain shoes that are ordinarily comfortable
If any of the symptoms above sound familiar, then you’ve probably encountered an ingrown toenail at least once in your life. While it’s not a fun experience, if you cared for the toenail properly, it likely went away on its own. However, how can you prevent ingrown toenails from reoccurring?
You might be surprised to find out that with at-home care, you can avoid ingrown toenails. While some cases do require medical intervention, many others can be treated with simple at-home remedies.
If you want to learn how to fix ingrown toenails permanently, continue reading for some helpful tips.
Will an Ingrown Toenail Eventually Grow Out?
When an ingrown toenail occurs, it can be painful and limit your mobility. However, it can heal on its own if allowed to grow out. If you quickly conduct at-home treatment, you might be able to avoid the need for antibiotics and surgery.
The first step to treating an ingrown toenail is identifying it. The first signs are usually mild tenderness and redness around the edge of your toe. Sometimes, this will occur soon after getting a pedicure, clipping your own toenails, or breaking a toenail.
When symptoms arise, soak your foot in warm water several times a day for 15-20 minutes. When you dry your feet, use a clean towel to gently wipe at the skin framing the toenail. Only wipe in the direction away from the nail itself. This will remove any loose, dead skin that may be gathering in the area and contributing to the problem.
Don’t wear any shoes that irritate your toe. You should also wrap the toe in a clean bandage and apply antibiotic cream to help prevent infection. If possible, avoid wearing socks and closed-toed shoes until your nail grows out and the pain subsides.
Avoid cutting the nail or trying to remove the ingrown portion, as this will only exacerbate the problem. If it’s not too painful, you can try using a small clipper or tweezers to remove any dead skin, lint, sock fuzz, or other debris that has gathered in the crevice between the nail plate and the skin (the perionychium). This can help the toenail grow past your skin, rather than into it.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
To avoid developing ingrown toenails, follow the tips listed below:
- Clip your toenails straight across, rather than in a curved shape
- Don’t cut your toenails too short
- Use a clipper with a straight edge
- Don’t wear shoes that press against the tops or fronts of your toes
- If your feet sweat, wear shoes that help keep them dry
- Use a clean towel to gently wipe horizontally across the skin framing your toenails. Try to do this when you get out of the shower and your skin is damp (this helps prevent buildup of dead skin in the area).
Preventing ingrown toenails is easier than treating them. You can treat an ingrown toenail at home in some cases. However, there are other situations where you need to see a podiatrist to address the issue.
When To See Your Podiatrist for an Ingrown Toenail
If you’re noticing signs of infection, then you need to seek professional medical treatment.
Some signs you might have an infected ingrown toenail include:
- Blood or pus in the area
- Severe swelling
- Hot to the touch
- Worsening pain
- Unable to touch the toe due to sensitivity
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. today.
Contact Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. for Foot Care in Chicago
If you’re struggling with discomfort caused by an ingrown toenail, the team at Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. can help. With our extensive experience and training, you can trust our professionals to address any foot issues you might be experiencing.
We provide everything from ingrown toenail treatment, to hammertoe treatment and various surgical and non-surgical treatments for foot and ankle disorders. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.