Treating Ingrown Toenails in ChildEveryone loves a good soccer game. The foot skills, the teamwork for stringing passes together, and the non-stop action make for an exciting couple of hours—especially if you are cheering on your kids’ teams. Kids and soccer can be a risky combination, though. From serious ankle sprains and turf toe to ingrown toenails, many types of injuries can sideline your children and keep them out of the game.

Why Nails Grow Funny

We don’t often think of ingrown toenails being a children’s problem, but it actually is quite common in kids—especially those who run a lot or play a sport like soccer, where their toes can constantly bang against their shoes. Trauma to the toes is one cause for the nail to grow in an odd way. Pressure from shoes or socks that are too tight is another. If the nail is injured or part of it is ripped off, it is more at risk for growing back incorrectly. Also, some people inherit a naturally curved nail shape that can grow into the skin.

However, one of the main causes for problem nails is not trimming them properly. Such a simple thing, but so easy for it to go wrong. What you want to avoid is cutting the corners down too far. This can cause the skin to curl over them, and the nail will grow out under the fold and press into the skin. You—or your kids—shouldn’t trim the nails too short, either. They should end up quite straight across and just about even with the end of your toe.

Signs of an Ingrown Nail

The first thing you may notice is that the big toe is tender and puffy at the edge of the nail. It may be red as well. When it really swells up, the redness spreads, or you see a discharge of pus, it has turned into a serious problem. If your child has diabetes, don’t wait for it to get to this stage. Come into Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists as soon as you first notice the problem, because it is much easier to treat in the early stages.

Soothing the Pain

There are some home remedies that you can try to keep the problem from getting worse. The first is to soak the foot in warm water for 15-20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day. This will help soften the skin and nail and relieve some of the pain. Then dry them thoroughly and massage your child’s toe gently. This will increase circulation to help fight off infection, and remove some of the pressure of the skin away from the nail.

You can apply a little antibiotic cream to help stave off infection as well. Then make sure your child wears socks and shoes that fit properly—not too tight or too loose. Whatever you do, don’t try to cut out the ingrown portion of the nail yourself!

Call in the Experts

If your child’s ingrown toenails aren’t getting better, it’s time to come into our office for further treatment. Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS will know the best way to help the nail to grow out properly again. If part of it needs to be removed, we can do so safely, and we will prescribe any antibiotics that may be needed to cure an infection. We can even give you hints about what to do to prevent it from forming again. Give Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists a call at (512) 328-8900 and set up an appointment today. We’ll help get your child back in the game without pain as soon as possible.

Photo Credit: Daniel St. Pierre via