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Can My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

Can My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

Ingrown toenails are among the most common nail issues. You should see a podiatrist immediately if you’re prone to problematic ingrown toenails or if you notice signs that your toenail may be infected. 

Ingrown toenails are painful, and infection can set in and cause complications. In some cases, you can manage an ingrown toenail on your own with some home care. However, if pain is severe or there are signs of infection, it’s best to get professional help.

Board-certified podiatrist David Biss, DPM, is your trusted expert in foot and ankle care. Leading the team at Concord Podiatry, he treats a range of conditions, including ingrown toenails, which occur when corners of the nail grow into the skin.

Why do I have an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails can result from various factors. Most commonly improper nail trimming, tight footwear, or injury cause the nail to grow into the skin. Soreness, redness, and swelling are common. 

If left untreated, however, an ingrown toenail can progress, leading to pain, infection, and more serious complications, particularly for if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

At-home ingrown toenail care

In some cases, particularly when you detect the problem early, ingrown toenails can heal on their own. Simple self-care measures can be effective, such as soaking your foot in warm, soapy water to reduce swelling and pain, and carefully lifting the nail edge to encourage it to grow straight out. 

Wearing comfortable shoes that provide ample space for your toes can also alleviate pressure on the affected nail. Proper nail care — trimming your nails straight across rather than curved at the edges and avoiding over-trimming — can prevent further ingrown toenails. 

When to seek medical attention

Relying solely on at-home care isn’t advisable if the ingrown toenail shows signs of infection or if pain and swelling increase. Problematic symptoms to watch for include:

If you have an underlying condition like diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or a compromised immune system, you should always seek prompt medical attention for any foot issues, including ingrown toenails, which can quickly progress and cause potentially severe complications.

Professional treatment options

When self-care measures aren’t enough, or if an infection develops, professional treatment becomes crucial. Dr. Biss can offer treatments ranging from lifting or partially removing the ingrown part of the nail, to more extensive procedures if the problem is severe or keeps recurring. 


These treatments not only relieve pain, but also address the root cause of the ingrown toenail, preventing further complications.

Prevention is key

Proper foot hygiene, correct nail trimming techniques, and wearing well-fitting footwear are simple yet effective measures to help you avoid ingrown toenails. Checking your feet regularly, especially if you’re at risk for foot complications, is essential. 

Don’t underestimate the potential for ingrown toenail complications. Keep a close eye on signs that it may be time to contact a doctor. For all of your foot and ankle care needs, contact Concord Podiatry in Concord or Plymouth, New Hampshire.

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