How Long Can You Leave An Ingrown Toenail Untreated?

How long can you leave an ingrown toenail untreated? It’s best not to at all, and home remedies, such as salt soaks, can be a good first step toward healing.


If you’ve noticed that your nail is going into your toe and your toe is red, swollen, and angry-looking, you might have an ingrown toenail. Fortunately, this is a common podiatric issue that your podiatrist can help you address. Dr. Danielle Malin serves the Pulaski, TN, area and offers today’s post for patients looking to answer the question, “How long can you leave an ingrown toenail untreated?”


The answer: don’t


According to the Pulaski, TN podiatrist, it’s best not to leave ingrown toenails untreated. And it’s also a smart move to contact your podiatrist if self-help measures haven’t worked within two or three days.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?


There are many factors that can contribute to the growth of an ingrown toenail. These include:


  • Improper trimming. Cutting your toenails too short or rounding the edges may encourage the nails to grow downward toward the skin.


  • Poorly-fitted footwear. Tightly fitted shoes are a major culprit of both pain and ingrown toenails in the world of podiatry. Dr. Malin recommends wearing shoes that fit comfortably and avoiding shoes with tapered toes, such as certain high-heels.


  • Trauma or injury. If you’re accident-prone and tend to stub your toe every time you get out of bed, you may be more at risk of ingrown toenails.


  • Heredity. Your parents and grandparents may be the cause of your ingrown toenails if your toenails naturally curve downward.



The podiatrist tells her patients to watch for pain and tenderness, redness and swelling, and signs of infection, such as increased pain, pus, and drainage.

Treatment And Prevention


You don’t necessarily have to call your podiatrist at the first sign of an ingrown toenail. Instead, Dr. Danielle Malin says that conservative measures at home can provide relief. She recommends soaking your feet in warm Epsom salt water a few times each day and applying an antibiotic ointment. It can also help to use a cotton ball to gently lift an ingrown toenail to reduce friction, lessen inflammation, and promote healing.


If self-help treatment options haven’t helped within about 72 hours, you’ll need to call your podiatrist. Dr. Malin offers many treatments for ingrown toenails, including partial nail avulsion and antibiotics. A partial nail avulsion involves the podiatrist removing a small portion of the ingrown toenail to relieve pain and inhibit potential future growth. It’s a minor surgical procedure that is performed under local anesthesia. You should be able to return to work or school immediately afterward. Your podiatrist might also recommend an antibiotic if an infection is present.

How Do You Prevent An Ingrown Toenail?


According to Dr. Danielle Malin, prevention is the key when it comes to avoiding painful ingrown toenails. Her main recommendations are to ensure that your toenails are always cut properly, which is straight across instead of rounded. It can also help to wear the right shoes, keep the feet clean and dry, and avoid traumatic injuries, especially during physical activity.


There are few causes of the pain that are more annoying than ingrown toenails. Fortunately, home remedies can often help, and your Pulaski podiatrist is always ready and waiting with treatments that can help you achieve lasting relief.


Dr. Danielle Malin of Premier Foot & Ankle Care in Columbia, TN, specializes in treating foot and ankle pain, Achilles tendinitis, warts, nail disorders, hammertoe, bunions, and more. She is a skilled foot and ankle surgeon who offers personalized patient care through her full-service office. Dr. Malin is unique among local podiatric specialists in that she makes house calls so that she can best care for her diverse patient base. Premier Foot & Ankle care treats both adult and pediatric patients. A staff physician at Maury regional, Dr. Malin is board certified by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery.


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