Help! My child has an ingrown toenail!

Your little girl’s toe is swollen, red, oozy and just plain uncomfortable.  She has an ingrown toenail!

An ingrown toenail is a common discomfort that can happen to anybody at any age.  It occurs when the side of the toenail decides to grow down and into the side of the toe, rather than straight and forward.  If the toenail is not redirected early enough, it can start to penetrate the skin and that leads to infections and severe pain of the toe.

Depending upon the severity of the ingrown toenail, there are a few treatment options that can be done.

Preventative care:

-Trim the toenail straight across and not too short. Do not trim down the sides, as this will encourage the nail to grow down toward the toe and cuticle.

-Wear roomy shoes. Often kids get an ingrown toenail because their shoes were too tight and cause pressure on the nail itself. There should be a thumb’s width between the child’s big toe and the end of their shoe.

Early on Ingrown Nail:

-If caught early enough, try placing a small amount of cotton under the side of the nail that is putting pressure on the skin, this should help relieve that pressure while the nail grows out.

-Soak their feet in warm Epsom salt water for 20 minutes at a time 2-3 times a day to help prevent infection and if tolerated, massage down the cuticle and side of the swollen toe.

– If you start to see signs of an infection, such as oozing, apply an over the counter anti-biotic cream. If the anti-biotic medicine does not help, it is time to see a Podiatrist.

When it’s time to see a Podiatrist:

-If your child’s toe is red, swollen, feels warm to the touch, has signs of oozing or smells particularly bad- see your podiatrist as soon as possible.

-Do NOT try to remove the ingrown nail yourself. You could subject your child to an infection!

-Once the nail has penetrated the skin, a simple in office surgery may be required to remove a portion of penetrating nail.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented so take the time to make sure your child is wearing a shoe that fits them well, trim nails straight across and keep an eye on their feet if they play sports with foot contact or have had a recent injury to their toe(s).

If your child is in need of care for their ingrown toenail, please call our office so that we can get you in as soon as possible!  (707) 578-1222.