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. If your child has an ingrown toenail, soak the foot in warm soapy water and check his/her shoes for proper fit. If these measures don’t help, make an appointment with our office for an examination and treatment. Don’t try to cut away the ingrown part of the nail.
If ingrown toenails 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 painful ingrown toenails and possible infection:
- Keep his/her feet clean.
- Cut nails straight across—do not round off the corners.
- Don’t allow nails to grow longer than the tip of the toe.
- Don’t let the child wear hand-me-down shoes.
- Ensure that shoes are wide enough in the toe box to avoid crowding of the of the toes.
This information was developed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons | FootHealthFacts.org