Children can baffle us with their imagination and creativity. But sometimes, it’s their bodies that stump us. There is so much that can go wrong with the human body. And when it comes to children, the smallest problem can cause a lot of pain – both mental and physical.
An ingrown toenail is one of the weirdest health issues you may have to deal with as a parent. But it is by no means that uncommon.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails In Children?
There are many reasons why your child may end up with an ingrown toenail. The major ones are listed here:
1. Trimming Nails Wrong:
If your child has an ingrown toenail, you can blame your nail trimming skills for it. Nails that are too short can cause ingrown toenails.
2. Ill Fitting Shoes:
When it comes to shoes, there is one simple mantra – if t doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Shoes that are ill fitting are one of the biggest causes for ingrown toenails.
[ Read: Best Way To Remove Splinter From Child ]
3. Toe Injuries:
If your child loses a toenail due to an injury, the new nail can become ingrown.
4. Repeated Stress On Toe:
Sometimes, repeated activity that puts stress on the toes, like kicking a ball repeatedly, can cause ingrown toenails.
5. Poor Foot Hygiene:
If your child doesn’t maintain proper foot hygiene, she runs the risk of developing ingrown toenails.
6. Nail Infections:
Sometimes, an infection in the nail too can cause ingrown toenails.
Symptoms Of Ingrown Toenails In Children:
Many times, a painful toe may be the only symptom of an ingrown toenail. And in other cases, it can manifest several symptoms. So, how will you know if it is an ingrown toenail that’s bothering your child? Just check for the following symptoms to make sure:
- Swelling around the affected area
- A painful area around the nail that looks inflamed
- Pus formation
- Foul odor
If your child has more than one of these symptoms, you’ll know for sure that you are dealing with an ingrown toenail.
[ Read: Toe Walking In Children ]
Ingrown Toenail Home Treatment For Kids:
Most cases of ingrown toenails can be taken care of at home. In fact, there is a debate on how to treat ingrown toenails among children. Some experts believe that a surgery should be the last option . Other experts disagree. But if your child’s toenail isn’t infected, just follow the tips mentioned below for your child ingrown toenail treatment:
1. Soak the affected foot in warm salt water for 20-30 minutes. Do this two-three times every day to give your child some relief.
2. Place a piece of dry cotton under the affected part of the toenail.
3. Use OTC antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
4. Trim the affected nail straight.
5. Take a cotton bud and dip it in some olive oil. Now use the bud to push the skin away from the nail.
6. Use painkiller to give your little one relief from the pain. But remember never to use aspirin for kids below 16 years of age.
When To See Your Doctor:
If the above-mentioned kids ingrown toenail home remedies don’t work or if you notice signs of infection, head to your doctor.
An infected ingrown toenail can be dangerous, so do seek immediate medical attention. Look for the following signs of infection:
- Excessive pain
Your doctor may advise treating the problem with a minor surgery. Now, don’t let the thought of your child undergoing surgery scare you. An ingrown toenail requires a minor surgery with local anesthesia. There are two kinds of surgery used to treat ingrown toenails. Most experts agree that partial nail avulsion must always be the first resort (1).
1. Partial Nail Avulsion:
This common treatment plan entails removing part of the infected nail. After the procedure, a chemical called phenol is applied to the affected area to prevent the nail from growing back. Your child may also need a prescription of antibiotics to help heal the infection heal completely.
2. Total Nail Bed Excisions(2):
Doctors agree that the total nail bed excision method should be used only in severe cases. This procedure too is carried out under local anesthesia. During this surgery, your child’s toenail will be removed from the root. Don’t worry, your child will have no problems functioning without a toenail!
Post Surgery Care:
Your kid may need to take a few days off school to heal from the surgery. Her foot will be wrapped in a sterile bandage, and she will need to keep it raised for a day or two.
To help your child deal with the pain, use painkillers. If possible, let your child be shoeless for some days. If she needs to go somewhere, let her wear open-toed sandals.
Can You Prevent Ingrown Toenails?
Why make your child go through surgery if you can prevent the condition? Here are some easy tips to prevent ingrown toenails in kids:
- You can teach your child to trim her nails properly, or you can do it for her. Make sure the toenails are trimmed straight and never cut them too short.
- Always buy well-fitted shoes for your child. Make sure the widest part of the shoes fits the widest part of her feet.
- If your child’s feet tend to sweat excessively, help keep them dry. Wearing socks is a good option.
- Teach your child proper foot hygiene. She should wash her feet with soap and water regularly.
- If your child is into sports, buy shoes that will prevent stress injuries.
Ingrown toenails may seem weird, but they can prove to be more than just a passing nuisance. An infected toenail is not something you want your child to end up with. So, the best bet is to prevent this condition. If your child does get an ingrown toenail, try and treat it as soon as possible at home. If your kid complains of pain near her toenail and you notice a slight inflammation, use the home remedies mentioned above.
But if your kid does need a surgery, don’t panic. It is a minor procedure and won’t bother your child too much. Most likely, it’ll be you who’ll be doing all the panicking! But then that’s what mothers do!
If you have ever dealt with ingrown toenail child, share your experience with us!
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