If you’ve experienced an ingrown toenail, you know this toe condition, that develops when the top corner of your toenail begins to grow into the flesh, is uncomfortable and painful. It usually affects the big toe. While it’s possible for you to treat an ingrown nail at home by soaking your foot and wearing shoes that give your toes adequate room to move around, it’s important to see a podiatrist about this condition before complications develop.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
There are many reasons people develop an ingrown toenail, but the most common cause is cutting your toenails too short. With a shorter nail, the skin can grow over the corners of the nail and the nail grow back into the skin. But there are other causes for this toe condition.
Why People Develop Ingrown Toenails
- Wearing shoes that are too tight and crowd the toes
- Cutting toenails with too much of a curve
- Suffering an injury to the toe or toenail, including stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on your foot
- Living with toenails that naturally grow at a curve
Treating an Ingrown Toenail at Home
It’s possible for an ingrown nail to heal without seeing a podiatrist. These minor cases can sometimes be treated with home remedies. Serious cases, however, need the help of a podiatrist.
Home Remedies for Your Ingrown Toenail
- Soak your toe in warm, soapy water up to three times a day, for 20 minutes at a time. This can reduce swelling and potentially ease pain. Add some Epsom salts to the water for additional relief.
- Soak your toe in apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been a trendy treatment for quite some time now, and some believe it to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Use antibiotic ointments. Over-the-counter creams can reduce infection risk and promote healing.
- Wear breathable shoes and socks. Avoid footwear that crowds your toes and/or feels too tight. This can further aggravate an ingrown toenail. Wear sandals whenever possible if an ingrown toenail is causing you pain.
While all of these remedies can help with relief, they may not resolve your ingrown toenail. Some experts worry that some of these home remedies can actually lead to further problems, including infection. It’s best to speak to a podiatrist to discuss what home remedies are best to maintain comfort and protect yourself from complications.
Will an Ingrown Toenail Heal Itself?
Even if you manage to reduce the pain and swelling of an ingrown toenail, it doesn’t mean the issue is resolved. While some nails can be treated with home care, the majority still need some sort of professional intervention once the toenail has grown past a certain point. If an ingrown toenail is left untreated in the hopes of it resolving on its own, certain complications can occur.
Possible Complications of Home Treatment
- Open sores
- Loss of blood flow to the site of infection
- Infection in the bone of your toe
If you are diabetic, these side effects can be much more severe, even leading to tissue decay in some cases. Instead of treating your ingrown toenail on your own, it’s best to seek treatment from a podiatrist.
How an Austin Podiatrist Can Help With Ingrown Toenails
Seeing a podiatrist is your best chance to resolve the pain and swelling of an ingrown toenail. They will have a variety of non-invasive treatment options available.
- Lifting the nail. For a slightly ingrown toenail, a podiatrist can place cotton or a splint underneath it to help the nail grow above the skin edge.
- Taping the nail. Skin is pulled away from the ingrown toenail with tape.
- Partially removing the nail. If the ingrown toenail is more severe, your podiatrist might numb the toe and remove a portion of the nail.
- Removing the entire nail. If you have chronic ingrown toenail issues, your podiatrist might recommend that the entire nail and surrounding tissue be removed.
Are You Looking for an Ingrown Toenail Specialist in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for ingrown toenail care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.