Pediatric Ingrown Toenails in Powder Springs, GA

Unfortunately, ingrown toenails in kids are more common than in adults. Why is that the case? Well, between too-tight shoes, lots of kicking sports, and parents' trimming their toenails, they face so many risks each day. Luckily, we know how to treat our littlest ingrown toenail patients here at our Powder Springs, GA podiatry practice. And, while we've made the process as comfortable as possible, we'd still rather help you prevent your children from dealing with this condition. Does that sound good? Stick with us while we explain why ingrown toenails in kids are so common. Then we'll share tips for preventing ingrown toenails, and for treating this concern if problems arise.

Ingrown toenails: What are they? A red and swollen ingrown toenail on right foot

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, ingrown toenails develop "when the skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail." Also, this condition can happen when "the nail itself grows into the skin.”

If that sounds like it would hurt, well it does! For that reason, you can usually diagnose ingrown toenails in kids when they complain about pain around their nail bed. Or when this area of skin is tender to the touch.

Typically, children's big toenails are affected, but ingrowth can develop on any nail. And, if it does, you may also notice swelling, redness or pus around the nail, in addition to the pain.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails in Kids?

Many different factors can affect your child's nail growth. If you keep them in shoes that are too small, their nails can band against the footwear's hard edge. In turn, the trauma can change the direction of nail growth. (Surprisingly, letting children wear shoes that are too large can cause this same exact problem.)

Now, poor footwear isn't the only risk factor for ingrown nails. Any kind of trauma can change the nail's growth direction. But even something simple like cutting your child's nail too close to the bed, or following the curve of the nail bed instead of trimming straight across can lead to ingrowth.

At this point, you may be thinking: if we can cut our way into trouble with toenails, can't we trim our way out of this mess on our own? In the comfort of our homes? Unfortunately, home remedies for ingrown toenails almost never fix the problem. In fact,  trying to correct an ingrown toenail on your own is likely to leave your child in worse pain, or dealing wih an infection. And this is why home care for ingrown toenails just won't work.

The Danger of Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

Rumor has it that you can 'fix' an ingrowing nail by using scissors to create a v-shaped notch in the center of the nail. The idea is that this cut could change the nail's directon of growth, and correct its inward turn in the process. 

Unfortunately, that's not how nail growth works. You see, nails grow upward, so nothing you do to the top of the nail edge will change the direction in which it grows. What other home remedies won't work, you may wonder? Well, you can't fix the nail growth by lifting the nail corner and propping it up with cotton. Of course, it could offer your child some immediate pain relief. But, over time, the weight of the nail could push that cotton into your child's delicate skin. This could lead to more pain. Not to mention an increased risk for infection.

Okay, you're thinking: if I can't try any fancy tricks, maybe I can just cut away the part of my child's nail that's growing inward? Think again, because this is just a bad idea. After all, it's hard to properly sterilize your nail scissors. Or the surfaces in your bathroom. As such, if you take those not-so-clean scissors and use them in your less than sterile bathroom on an inflamed nail bed? You're likely to introduce germs--and infection--into the skin surrounding that ingrowing nail. In other words, the only way to safely address an ingrown nail is to practice prevention. Or seek treatment with our podiatrist, serving Lost Mountain, Marietta, Dallas, Kennesaw, Acworth, Hiram, and patients throughout Cobb and Paulding Counties.

Pediatric Nail Care in Powder Springs, GA

As soon as you notice a change in the direction of your child's nail growth, it's time to make an appointment with Dr. Alvin Cowans. But, while you're waiting to come in, you can offer your child some safe relief by following these easy foot care tips.

If your child has red or swollen skin around the affected nail, you can soak his or her foot in warm water, once or twice a day. (Don't let the soak last for more than 15 minutes at a go.) This gentle approach could help relieve some of the pain and pressure caused by the ingrowing toenail.

Now, this relief will only be temporary. For that reason, you'll need to seek professional treatment for your child's ingrown toenail. Otherwise, the pain and infection will only get worse. Because, the only way to effectively treat ingrown toenails in kids without a visit to the podiatrist is to prevent problems from starting in the first place.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails in Kids: 3 Top Tips nail clippers

Follow these three suggestions if you want your child's nails to grow in the right direction.

1. When trimming your child's toenails, cut straight across. Never follow the nail bed's curve, even at the corners. And don't trim nails too short. Always leave some visible white nail, or you'll increase the risk of ingrowth. 

2. Make sure children wear shoes that aren't too short or tight, since pairs that pinch their nails or bump their toes could increase the chances their nails will turn inward.

3. Kids should also avoid loose shoes, since their feet can slide inside roomy pairs. When that happens, the toenails can still bump into the hard edge of the shoe, causing trauma and increasing their odds for ingrown toenails.

Preventing kids' pain is always the goal. But it's not alwats possible. Does your child already have a painful ingrown toenail that just won't go away? Skip the at-home remedies and come see us right away. We'll treat the nail in a sterile, safe environment. That will give your little one lasting pain relief and keep that ingrown toenail from returning.

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