Ouch! Ingrown Toenails in Children

Ingrown toenails are a very common condition in both adults and children alike. It is one of the most common conditions treated by the doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle. While most people blame improper trimming of the nail as the most common cause of the ingrown, that’s a misconception. Most ingrown nails in kids are the result of heredity. The growth center under the cuticle is excessively curved, causing the nail to take on that same shape. A curved growth center creates a curved nail. As the nail grows out, it digs into the skin, causing pain and often leading to infection.

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People with ingrown nails try to cut the corner out to keep it from digging in, and then get the blame for cutting the nails improperly. Tearing at the nail can lead to an ingrown nail, as the nail border can then take on a jagged, irregular shape and dig into the skin.
Ingrown nails may start out as just a little tenderness with shoe pressure or walking, but redness and significant pain can soon develop. Ingrown toenails can quickly escalate into a full-blown infection.

Tight fitting shoes or shoes that are too short can force the skin around the nail up and over the nail, forcing the nail to grow in. Make sure that your child has a finger’s width of extra room in her shoe, past the longest toe. Repetitive trauma to the nail, such as kicking a soccer ball, can also lead to an ingrown toenail.

Signs of an infected ingrown toenail include:

• Pain when touching the skin to the side of the nail
• Swelling around the ingrown edge
• A pink or red color
• Liquid or pus discharge
• Warmth
• Bad Odor

Don’t attempt “bathroom surgery” on an ingrown toenail. With something as minor as an ingrown toenail, it may seem like overkill to visit the doctor. However, once infection sets in, an ingrown toenail can become very serious and always requires medical attention. Don’t wait for the toe to become infected!

Your local podiatrist can remove the ingrown border of the nail with a minor in-office procedure, and then treat the nail bed to help prevent the ingrown nail from coming back. Most kids feel better right away and they’re wearing their normal shoes and participating in most activities immediately. The doctors commonly hear from parents, “I wish we had done that procedure a long time ago!”

If you think your child has an ingrown toenail, please give our office a call at 816-943-1111 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.