Foot Health Check Up 4 Kids
Ingrown toenails are a common, painful condition that frequently affects children and young adults. It occurs when skin on the sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection.
What are the Causes of Ingrown Toenails?
Ingrown toenails can develop for many reasons. Two major causes are poorly fitting shoes and improperly trimmed nails. Shoes that are too tight press on the sides of the nail and encourage it to curl in. Nails that are trimmed down into the corners or cut too short are also more likely to become ingrown.
Trauma, such as stubbing a toe or having one stepped on can cause the toenail to penetrate the surrounding skin. In some cases the condition is inherited and the toenail grows in a curved shape making the child predisposed to ingrown nails. Even too-tight socks can push your child’s nails into their toes. With little feet that are growing fast, it’s important to regularly check the fit of the shoes.
Prevention of Ingrown Toenails
There are some steps you can take to prevent the development of ingrown toenails:
- Cut nails straight across without tapering the corners. This is probably the most important factor in preventing ingrown toenails. Avoid cutting the nails too short, leave them a little longer than usual.
- Avoid wearing shoes and socks that are too tight or narrow.
- Keep feet clean to prevent the ingrown nail from becoming infected.
If your child complains of a painful toe and the skin around the toenail is red, swollen, bleeding or is discharging, an infection may be present. Infected ingrown nails should be treated as soon as they develop. In many cases treatment may simply involve clearing the side of the nail with a sterile instrument, draining any pus and applying a sterile dressing. If an infection is present oral antibiotics may be required to help settle the infection.
What Can You do at Home to Help?
If your child has an ingrown toenail follow these simple care instructions until you visit your Podiatrist:
- Bathe the toe in luke warm salt water twice daily
- Apply betadine antiseptic solution to the toe and apply a clean dressing
- Wear an open toe shoe or sandal
Ingrown Toenail Bracing
Ingrown toenail bracing is a revolutionary treatment introduced to Australia by Foot Health Clinic. The toenail is braced with a fine tensioned wire to gently and painlessly lift the edges of the nail away from the skin allowing the underlying tissues to recover and reducing the curvature of the nail. This treatment option offers rapid relief from symptoms, requires no needles and is safe for people with diabetes and is also suitable for children.
If your child continues to have repeated episodes of ingrown toenails, minor surgery may be necessary to help alleviate the problem. Ingrown toenail surgery is a painless procedure completed in the clinic using local anaesthetic to numb the toe. As a more permanent solution to recurring ingrown nails, a chemical is applied during the surgical procedure that stops the toenail from regrowing.
At Foot Health Clinic we offer a range of solutions for the treatment of ingrown toenails, from advice on correct nail cutting techniques to nail bracing and ingrown toenail surgery using local anaesthetics.
If your child has an ingrown toenail, contact us.