Ingrown toenails in children are a common problem where the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh of the toe. This condition can cause pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes infection. It’s often seen in the big toe.
- Improper Nail Trimming: Cutting toenails too short or not straight across can encourage a nail to grow into the skin.
- Tight Shoes: Shoes that are too tight or small can push the nail into the surrounding skin.
- Injury: Stubbing a toe or other trauma to the toe can lead to an ingrown toenail.
- Poor Foot Hygiene: Not keeping the feet clean and dry can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
- Genetics: Some children may be predisposed to ingrown toenails due to the natural shape of their toenails.
- Pain and Tenderness along one or both sides of the nail.
- Redness around the toenail.
- Swelling of the toe around the nail.
- Infection of the tissue around the toenail can occur in more severe cases, indicated by increased pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes pus.
- Soaking the Foot: Soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water several times a day can reduce swelling and ease pain.
- Proper Nail Trimming: Trim the toenail straight across without rounding the corners, and avoid cutting them too short.
- Wearing Proper Footwear: Ensure that shoes and socks are not too tight and allow enough room for the toes.
- Antibiotics: In cases of infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
- Surgical Treatment: In severe cases, a minor surgical procedure to remove the ingrown portion of the toenail may be necessary.
- Trim Toenails Correctly: Straight across and not too short.
- Wear Well-Fitting Shoes: Shoes should be comfortable and not press on the toes.
- Foot Hygiene: Regular washing and drying of the feet.
- Avoid Toe Trauma: Protective footwear when needed to avoid injuries.
When to See a Doctor
Consult a healthcare provider if:
- The pain is severe or spreading.
- There is redness and swelling around the nail.
- You notice signs of infection like pus or increased redness and warmth.
- Home treatments have not helped.
Early treatment of an ingrown toenail can prevent complications, such as infection. It’s particularly important to see a doctor if your child has diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to the feet, as even a minor foot injury can lead to more serious complications.