Can an Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

December 1, 2022
Can an Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?
Ingrown nails are painful conditions, and if you’re dealing with one, you might wonder if it can heal on its own. Read more to find out how to treat your nail at home and when it’s time to get podiatric care.

Ingrown nails are a painful condition when your skin starts to cover your nail. Wearing tight shoes, having a fungal infection, genetic predisposition, improperly trimming your nails, or injuring your toe all contribute to ingrown nails.

Because they are so common, you might wonder if yours will heal on its own. In some cases, mild ingrown nails can heal on their own at home.

Board-certified podiatrist Albert Elhiani DPM, highlights the at-home treatments that help heal an ingrown nail 一 and the top signs that you need podiatric care for your ingrown nail.

Are you dealing with an ingrown nail?

Before you embark on your at-home treatment of an ingrown nail, it’s important to confirm that you’re dealing with an ingrown nail. The tell-tale symptoms of ingrown nails are skin covering your toenail, pain and tenderness, and red or swollen skin.

Learning to spot the early signs of an ingrown nail means you can reduce your risk of infection by treating the condition quickly.

Steps to heal your ingrown nail at home

One of the best things you can do to help an ingrown nail is to soak your toe in a warm foot bath. This helps reduce inflammation and tenderness. To create a foot bath, follow these steps:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water (either a foot-soaking basin or a bathtub)
  • Mix in ½ -1 cup of Epsom salt (add more if you’re filling the bathtub)
  • Soak your feet for 15 minutes a few times each day
  • Thoroughly dry your feet afterward

Other tips that treat ingrown nails at home:

  • Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the affected area
  • Don’t try to trim your nails (or dig out the nail) on your own right now, which may cause more irritation and infection
  • Avoid wearing shoes that further irritate the area

In the future, you can reduce your risk of developing ingrown nails by cutting your nails straight across. Don’t trim them in a curve shape, and don’t cut them too short.

When you should not continue with at-home treatments

At Eazy Foot & Ankle, we offer several treatments for ingrown nails in the Pico Robertson area of Los Angeles, California, but how do you know it’s time to visit us? Reach out to us if:

It hurts too much

If your ingrown nail is too painful to treat at home, if you notice any yellowish drainage, excess growth of the skin on the borders of the toenail or if the redness and tenderness worsens 一 in spite soaking your nails at home 一 it’s time to give us a call.

You have diabetes

Because of the poor circulation often related to diabetes, foot problems can quickly escalate for diabetics. Any wound, including an ingrown toenail, can escalate into a bigger issue. If you have diabetes and suspect you have an ingrown nail, skip the at-home care and seek professional podiatric care.

Your ingrown nail is infected

Ingrown nails can become infected. You might notice an increase in pain, redness, and swelling, and you may even see oozing or pus. Bacterial infections like this require antibiotics, and if not treated in a timely manner, you increase your risk of developing cellulitis.

Advanced treatments to give you relief

The good news is that even if you can’t remedy the situation at home, our team has the tools and experience to treat even the most stubborn ingrown nails. Dr. Elhiani may recommend:

  • Trimming your nail
  • Antibiotics
  • In-office fungal nail therapies
  • Surgery to remove your nail (either a small portion or the entire nail)
  • Keryflex® nail restoration system to rebuild damaged nails

Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation to explore your ingrown nail treatment options. You can also reach our Los Angeles, California, office at 424-375-6348.