Ingrown toenails are a painful problem experienced by many children, from toddlers all the way up to kids in middle and high school. Sometimes, there’s an obvious preceding injury—stubbing a toe on a table perhaps—but often your child won’t be able to provide an obvious explanation. One day, their toe just started swelling and hurting!
There are many possible reasons your child might have developed an ingrown toenail. When especially young children develop them repeatedly, there is very likely chance there is a genetic component—their nails are simply naturally very curved, which can lead to more frequent recurrence. However, because external factors could also be at fault, you should try these prevention strategies to see if they can stop future cases:
- Make sure your child’s toes have enough room to wiggle in their shoes. Tight shoes can be a problem, especially when kid’s feet grow so fast!
- Repetitive trauma to the front of the feet, such as kicking a soccer ball over and over, may lead to an ingrown toenail. Make sure your child varies their activities and wears protective footwear.
- Make sure that whoever is trimming your child’s toenails—you or your child—is doing so correctly! If you cut them too short, especially by curving the corners like you would with your fingernails, you increase the risk of an ingrown toenail. Nails should be cut straight across and kept about even with the toe tip.
Unfortunately, sometimes kids continue to have problems even when practicing these prevention tips. In such circumstances, after we remove the ingrown portion of the nail, we can perform a minor surgical procedure that will prevent that edge of the nail from ever growing back. The operation should not be painful for your child and can provide more permanent long-term prevention and relief.
Children’s foot care is a passion and specialty for Dr. Sanjay Patel and the entire team at Family Foot Care and Surgery, LLC. Our caring and gentle staff always seek to ensure your little one feels safe, calm and prepared for any procedure. To make an appointment in either Milford or Hamden, CT, please call (203) 876-7736.