Children's feet take a beating, especially from contact sport like football, soccer, and hockey. I have the privilege of treating many active sport motivated children. Most seen injuries are ankle sprains, calcaneal apophysitis, foot fractures, and ingrown toenails. Preventable injuries like ingrown nails can be blames improper toenail trimming, snug shoes or cleats and repetitive trauma creating this painful problem.
Many children wear hand-me-down shoes that don’t fit also older children like tighter cleats as I agree gives them better feel for the ball, ice or track. There are steps parents can take to prevent their children from suffering a painful ingrown toenail. First, teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. Second, make sure shoes/ skates fit properly. A child’s shoe size can change within a single season. If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, soaking their foot in room-temperature water/ epsom salt and gently massaging the side of the nail fold can reduce the inflammation. But I have seen some concern during "bathroom surgery", which can be dangerous.
Post bathroom surgery
Many children are prone to ingrown due to toe and nail shape. Recurrences is frequent and easily treated with a 10 min office procedure. If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care.
Many foot and ankle surgeons have several options on treatment; including temporary or permanent treatments. In my clinic I see approximately 4-5 ingrowns daily and have treated this condition several ways. The use of phenol is a popular method to kill the root or matrix of the nail. With this method I have noticed an increase in post procedure edema, increase pain, redness, drainage and recurring ingrowns.
In our clinic we have tracked approx 200 patients with our procedure with less then 2% recurrence. This 10-minute office base procedure. starts with a pain-less numbing of the toe, removing the ingrown portion of the nail and soft tissue in needed (RIGHT picture- the black tissue is a granuloma forming by the ingrown nail). Upon removal a solution is used to permanently remove part of a nail’s root, preventing it from growing back with less pain, edema, erythema, and return.
Most children experience very little pain afterwards and can resume normal activity the next day. Complete healing occurs within 3 weeks and return to sport in 24 hrs. Children have a tendency to sweat and are at a higher risk of infection.
Untreated Ingrown Nail
Some children experience traumatic experience going to the ER for such conditions and treatment. But lets face it, ER physicians are trained on stabilizing patients and saving lives. Ingrown nails are a low priority and may have patients waiting hours for treatment. If you notice your children limping or having ingrown toenail issues have them see a specialist that has experience with successful treatments and good communication skills.
Dr. Darryl Martins, DPM, FACFAS
100 S. Cooper St.