Anybody can get an ingrown toenail.

There are no rules about how old you have to be or what lifestyle you must have. Kids, adults, seniors—sometimes even infants can get them!

Yet even though ingrown toenails can be a universal problem, it’s also definitely the case that kids seem to be especially susceptible.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you happen to be the parent of a child that struggles with ingrown toenails again and again, you are highly motivated to figure out why it’s happening, and then keep it from happening.

We can help with that!

Why Does My Child Keep Getting Ingrown Toenails?

Identifying the Root Causes of Pediatric Ingrown Toenails

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you for sure what’s causing your child’s ingrown toenails until we have a chance to look for ourselves. That’s because there are several possible explanations.

Not to worry, though! There are a small handful of potential causes that tend to be the most common. They include:

Shoes that Don’t Fit

If your child’s shoes are too small or too big, ingrown toenails can follow. That’s especially true if your child plays sports or is otherwise highly active.

Shoes that are too tight (especially in the toe box area) means toenails can get pressed into the surrounding skin. Go too loose, though, and their shoes can slide around and bump up against their toenails repeatedly during active play.

Of course, this is true for anybody. But because of the way kids’ feet grow so fast, keeping them in shoes that fit appropriately can be a major challenge!

Make sure you’re checking the fit of your child’s shoes at least once per month to ensure there’s still enough “wiggle room” in the toe box. At the same time, resist the urge to give them big shoes to “grow into.” You might think you’re saving yourself a little cash, but you’re also putting your child at risk of foot pain and injuries.

Toenails that Aren’t Cut Properly

The best way to cut toenails is straight across, and short but not too short. You want to keep just a little bit of overhang at the end, and you want to avoid rounding in at the corners.

It may seem like a small thing, but toenails that are cut too short, especially in the corners, are much more likely to snag and dig into the surrounding skin as they grow back out. And of course, toenails that are too long can lead to all sorts of painful nail problems—ingrown toenails being just one of them.

Very young children might need their toenails cut every two weeks to maintain proper length. As they get bigger and older, they might not need to trim quite so often. Just keep an eye on it!

Once your child is old enough to cut their own nails, make sure they understand how to do so properly, and why it’s important.

They Were Born That Way

Unfortunately, chronic ingrown toenails in children—especially very young children who may not even be in shoes yet—is often a sign that they may simply be prone to them due to the way that their toenails are shaped.

If one or more parents or grandparents have also had trouble with ingrown toenails in the past, this scenario is even more likely.

However, this isn’t as bad as it sounds! Even when genetics are part of the problem, there’s a simple solution that can help solve your little one’s ingrown toenail problems for good.

Six pre-teen friends running in a park, front view, close up

Professional Treatment: Fast, Effective, and Kid Approved

You don’t have to be a child to be nervous about going to the doctor’s office—especially if you’re anticipating a procedure that might hurt. It’s very normal to feel that way.

However, you really don’t have to worry about much with ingrown toenail treatment! The procedure is so quick and easy that even young children typically handle it like total pros.

The most uncomfortable part is the shot of local anesthetic, but the toe numbs up very quickly. After that, removing the ingrown part of the nail is a breeze and not uncomfortable at all. You and your child can go home right away afterward. By the time the anesthetic wears off, the symptoms should be much improved.

During the same appointment, we may also recommend removing a small part of the nail matrix along the edge of the nail that’s becoming ingrown again and again. This prevents that part of the toenail from growing back.

Usually only a very small part needs to be removed, so the nail will still look very natural. And the best part is, the odds are now extremely low that your child will ever get an ingrown toenail in that spot ever again!

So whatever is causing your child’s ingrown toenails, don’t hesitate to bring them in for an appointment at the Texas Foot & Ankle Center. We can help you figure out what the problem is, then provide the appropriate solution for your child—all within a kid-friendly environment, with procedures that even children tend to tolerate very well.

To schedule your appointment, give us a call at (214) 660-0777, or reach out online.

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