Ingrown toenails are a common and mostly benign foot problem that often occurs in children and teenagers.
However, they can become a big problem when parents attempt at-home treatment or “bathroom surgery,” which can worsen the condition and lead to potentially serious complications such as severe pain, infection of the skin or underlying bone and possible deformity of the toe.
Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the nail curve and grow into the soft tissue of the toe.
The most common symptom is swelling and redness in the toes— especially the big toe. Some children may complain that their feet hurt when wearing shoes. To help rid your child of the problem, try changing to properly-fitted shoes or soaking the foot in warm soapy water. If these measures don’t help, make an appointment with our office for an examination and treatment. Don’t try to snip away the ingrown part of the nail!
The tendency to get ingrown toenails can be inherited. If they are a frequent problem for your child, a surgical procedure may be required to permanently remove a portion of the nail.
To help your child avoid the pain and possible infection of this problem:
- Make sure their feet are kept clean
- Cut nails straight across—don’t “round off ” the corners.
- Don’t allow nails to grow longer than the tip of the toe.
- Don’t “force fit” hand-me-down shoes.
- Make sure shoes are wide enough in the toe box to avoid crowding of the toes.