December 2023

Blog 25 – Can Ingrown Toenails Go Away On Its Own | Toenail Care

Can An Ingrown Toenail Heal Itself? Do I Need Treatment For My Ingrown Toenail?

One frequently asked question we get at Bellevue Podiatry about ingrown toenails (a common but very uncomfortable condition) is whether they can heal on their own?

When a nail pushes into the surrounding skin, it becomes ingrown and usually affects the big toe.  Contrary to popular belief, this condition cannot be resolved on its own without some kind of assistance.  Some of the time, people can effectively manage it with at-home remedies, other times it can be of critical importance to a see a Podiatrist or medical professional, especially when the ingrown toenail becomes infected.

This blog delves into the nuances of ingrown toenails, examining elements such as severity, self-care techniques, and when to consult a Podiatrist.  Our goal is to shed light on this frequently misdiagnosed condition and provide information on why ingrown toenails cannot heal themselves, but to also give you some assurance that there are effective and pain free options available.

Ingrown Toenail Causes

Ingrown toenails are more common in adolescents and young adults, a group known for having increased sweating.  Particularly in athletes, the increased perspiration can soften the nail fold and increase the chance of the nail becoming embedded in the skin.

Elderly people are also susceptible to this condition.  Nail care can become more difficult when dealing with conditions like poor vision and restricted movement.  Ingrown toenails can also occur as a result of the thickening and increased difficulty of maintaining nails that come with age.

The following are the main causes of ingrown toenails:

  • Unsuitable footwear: Shoes that are excessively narrow or tight can put pressure on the nail by pressing the big toe against the second toe.
  • Improper toenail cutting: Toenails should be trimmed straight across, above the nail bed. Slashing them too short can result in inflammation and swelling of the surrounding tissue.
  • High sweating: Sweating too much can soften the nail bed, which makes it simpler for the nail to pierce the skin.
  • Toe injuries: These can include anything from a dropped object on the foot to a stubbed toe.
  • Sports: Playing sports, particularly ones that require a lot of running or constant kicking, can damage toenails and increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Factors related to heredity: Some people are genetically predisposed to ingrown toenails.

Ingrown Toenail Symptoms

A common side effect of ingrown toenails is discomfort, which can range in severity from mild to severe and usually gets worse over time.

Early symptoms of this illness may include:

  • Redness in the vicinity of the nail
  • Sensitivity or pain around the edges of the toenail
  • Swelling or hardening of the skin around the nail
  • Accumulation of fluid near the toe area
  • Pain in the toe when pressure is applied

There’s a chance of bacterial entry where the nail pierces the skin, which could result in an infection, which must be treated seriously and reviewed by a Podiatrist immediately.

Ingrown toenail
An infected toenail - don't delay seeing a Podiatrist or GP if your ingrown toenail has become infected.

How Can I Determine My Ingrown Toenail Is Infected?

Infections in the toes can cause symptoms like:

  • Red and irritated skin
  • Touch sensitivity
  • Notable edema / swelling
  • Pus discharge
  • Haemorrhage transpiring
  • Expansion of the skin covering the nail in the nail fold

As mentioned, an infected ingrown toenail must be treated as soon as possible to stop these symptoms from getting worse.

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Take Care of Ingrown Toenails at Home

An ingrown toenail should be treated as soon as it is discovered.  The following are some at-home cures for ingrown toenails:

  • Taking three to four daily soaks in warm water for the foot
  • Making sure the foot is dry and clean at all other times.
  • Choosing shoes that are cosy and allow for lots of toe room, like sandals
  • Using ibuprofen painkillers to reduce discomfort in the short term

Consider incorporating Epsom salts into the water for soaking.  In addition, a light massage along the side of the nail fold may help to lessen swelling.

Things not to do at home

  • Avoiding frequent nail-edge trimming, which can make the problem worse.
  • Avoid using cotton under the nail, as this can foster the growth of bacteria and increase the risk of infection.

When to Visit a Podiatrist or Doctor?

Ingrown toenail care instructions should be followed at home, but if after two to three days there is still no improvement, people should consult a Podiatrist.  Additionally, immediate medical attention is required in the event that an infection manifests.

Those who already have a medical condition such as diabetes, poor blood circulation, or nerve damage in the foot should see a Podiatrist as soon as they notice an ingrown toenail.

Prevention is better than cure

Most cases of ingrown toenails can be avoided by:

  • Proper nail trimming: It’s critical to cut nails evenly and to prevent over-clipping them. The nail should be long enough so that a fingernail can pass under the tip and the sides of the nail.
  • Selecting socks and shoes that fit properly: Tight socks and shoes can put pressure on the toes when jogging or walking quickly, which raises the possibility of ingrown toenails.
  • Refrain from pulling or picking at your toenails.
  • Keeping the feet clean in order to maintain good foot hygiene.

The Painless & Lasting Treatment For Ingrown Toenails with Onyfix

Typically ingrown toenail surgery is a last resort for a Podiatrist and less intrusive options are explored first.  If we can avoid surgery and still get the rid of the ingrown toenail once and for all, we will.  One such option we often use at our clinic is Onyfix.

For people who are experiencing discomfort from ingrown or curved toenails, Onyfix is a pain-free solution.  Our Melbourne podiatrists at Bellevue Podiatry use this cutting-edge system, which provides a painless, non-invasive method of nail correction.

Onyfix realigns the nail into its natural shape by gently guiding it from root to tip during growth.  This approach is especially helpful for people with needle phobia, diabetes, or other medical conditions that make traditional surgical interventions difficult.  It eliminates the discomfort associated with surgery and needles.

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Onyfix has great success in resolving even severe ingrown toenails once and for all pain free!

The Onyfix method entails a straightforward topical application that is activated by LED light, functioning as a brace to guarantee proper nail growth.  Over the course of two to three months, this treatment will adjust to the natural growth of your nail, gently reshaping it to its desired shape without causing any pain or discomfort.

It has many benefits, including being hypoallergenic, appropriate for active lifestyles, and safe for diabetics.  In contrast to conventional bracing techniques, which may irritate or cause discomfort, Onyfix guarantees comfort during the entire treatment duration.

Summing Up - Will An Ingrown Toenail Heal Itself? Will It Go Away On Its Own?

Usually affecting the big toe but sometimes occurring on any toe, ingrown toenails are excruciating and result from either the toenail growing into the toe or the skin overgrowing the nail.  Inadequate shoe fitting, improper nail trimming, and specific foot ailments are among the causes.

Even though treatment is necessary for these toenails, and they won’t go away by themselves, some over-the-counter solutions may be helpful for a few days but will unlikely be a long-term solution.  Nonetheless, if there is no improvement, or the patient has a foot-related medical condition such as diabetes, or if infection symptoms manifest, a podiatrist consultation is required.

The key take away we want you to remember is – if you notice any signs of infection with an ingrown toenail, please seek the professional advice of a Podiatrist immediately.  Do not let the thought of ingrown toenail surgery stop you from reaching out for help.  There are pain-free options available, and an unchecked infection can become very serious.

Our team of skilled and knowledgeable Podiatrists is here to help if you are currently dealing with an ingrown toenail or any other foot, ankle, lower limb skin or nail issues.

Our committed foot and ankle specialists will carefully evaluate a range of non-surgical options to address your problem.  However, if the situation calls for it, you can rest assured that we can perform surgical interventions with the utmost skill and care.

Call us right away at (03) 9000 0418 to set up a face-to-face or online consultation. Our top priority is your health.

Ingrown Toenails

Understand how you get ingrown toenails and what you can do to get rid of them once and for all. You don't need to put up with the pain of an ingrown toenail any longer.

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