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Q: What could happen if I go too long without having my ingrown toenail treated?

A: If someone has an ingrown toenail and lets it go, the nail can keep ingrowing and literally cut into the skin at the side of the toe as the skin becomes more swollen. Talk about painful! Once the skin is cut, bacteria on the skin surface can then enter the toe and cause infection. If this condition is treated promptly, antibiotics and removal of the ingrowing side of the toenail can stop this from getting worse and allow the toe to heal. However, if this is not treated soon enough, it is possible that the infection can get worse and even spread into the bone beneath the toenail. This requires much more work, including surgery and sometimes even intravenous (IV) antibiotics to treat.

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