Podiatrist Questions Ingrown Toenail

What happens if I leave my ingrown toenail untreated?

There's some redness and a little pain around my big toenail. I think it might be because of an ingrown nail, but I'm not too sure. I kinda want to leave it be because it isn't causing me too much discomfort. However, if it is an ingrown toenail, what would happen if I don't have it treated?

16 Answers

Ingrown nails can be caused by many factors including biomechanics abnormality and gait imbalance or abnormal nail bed. Trauma can also cause it it cutting the nails too short with unsterile means. Ingrown nails with infection must be taken out after giving a few days or antibiotics. To avoid infection of the ingrown nail, surgical removal of the ingrown nail must be taken prior to infection. If permanent removal is done to the ingrown nail to avoid recurrence, then laser can be used or phenol application.
This may be treated medically at first by performance of warm water baths with soap or epsom salts. Appropriate hygienic trimming of the nail by cutting straight across and not trimming into the edges. If redness worsens with increased pain or development of discharge or exuberant granulation tissue, then system antibiotic may be required and potential surgical excision of the offending nail edge in order to achieve resolution.
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Hello. It may grow its on its own but more likely it will get worse if you leave it

Dr. Lui
Increased pain and recurrent infections
Go to your local Podiatrist before it becomes infected
There really is no way to know for sure it may resolve by itself or it may become grossly infected and potentially less to more serious problems. Much of this depends on your general health. Are you young and healthy or you older and not so healthy or diabetic? For example many diabetics may let an ingrown nail go and end up with amputations. I suggest having your toe looked at so you can make an informed decision.
It will become more seriously infected and that's when the pain will kick in.
Ingrown nails should not be left alone if symptomatic. They often lead to a condition called paronychia, which will need antibiotics. A bad enough infection could have devastating results depending on your other medical conditions. I would recommend seeing a Podiatrist soon before it becomes infected. Most treatments are simple and can offer substantial relief. Don’t ignore your body; pain occurs for a reason.

Ahmad Farah, DPM
Letting a true ingrown toenail, usually involving the big toe, is a dangerous decision to make. Most ingrown nails are or quickly become infected. The nail causes the infection manifested by all the classic signs of infection, pain, swelling, red and inflamed with drainage. If the infection spreads to the bone, months of antibiotics or amputation are needed to achieve a cure. I have seen a patient who tried to cut out the ingrown portion, but missed part of the ingrowing nail. A sharp point of the nail had grown out of the end of the toe. If the patient is diabetic, the chances for amputation are great.

Rod Tomczak, MD, EdD
If this is a “one time occurrence” and you have never had this ingrowing nail before, it’s likely that when trimming there was a piece of nail left in the corner. You could leave it alone and see what happens, but there is a chance that it may lead to an infection. I’ve seen it go both ways, where a person has left it alone, it grows out and they just trim it straight across, and sometimes I’ve seen the nail cause an infection. If you choose to leave it alone, I would recommend applying neosporin to the area daily and cover with a bandaid, this works to keep the bacteria load low to try to prevent an infection as well as softening the skin around the ingrowing nail. I hope this helps.
Ingrown toenails can become infected and require multiple surgical procedures. I recommend you have your toe evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon (podiatrist) to determine the appropriate course of treatment
It may get worse and infected, which would force you to seek medical attention. Better to deal with it before it gets to that point. See your doc
If it is in pain then yes it should be taken care of. If there is an infection it should be taken care of more quickly. If the infection stays and gets to the bone you can lose your toe or foot
It can become infected and become more painful.
Untreated ingrowing toenails can lead to an infection. It is always wise to have a medical professional evaluate it to guide you as to whether it needs to be treated. Conservatively, soak your foot with Epsom salt and warm water and avoid tight fitting shoes until you can have it evaluated.
If you do not treat the problem, you will have increased swelling, redness, pain and even a possible infection and abscess around the nail fold. The pain and discomfort will increase. Antibiotics will only alleviate the infection, but once finished with the antibiotics, the problem will recur without appropriate treatment to remove the aggravating nail border.