An ingrown toenail usually occurs on the big toe. It is a toenail that grows into the skin on the sides of the nail. It causes tenderness, redness, and swelling of the toe or part of the toe. Usually, it is caused by wearing tight shoes, so it is common in kids with growing feet. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by improperly cutting the toenails.

Ingrown toenails usually take a couple or several weeks to heal. If your child has an ingrown toenail, you can take care of it at home if it is not severe. Soak your child’s affected foot in warm water and antibacterial soap for 20 minutes twice a day. While soaking, massage the part where the toenail is growing into the skin. Massage the skin away from the nail. 

If there are redness and irritation, you may need to apply antibiotic ointment. If there is pus oozing from the affected area, apply the antibiotic ointment 3 times a day for about a week. Your child may feel some pain because of the edge of the toenail rubbing against the raw skin.

If soaking and antibiotic ointment don’t help to improve your child’s ingrown toenail situation, you should consult with a foot doctor called a podiatrist. The doctor may cut the part of the nail that is growing into the skin. This would allow the irritated skin to heal. In most cases, this only needs to be done once. The procedure should result in the nail growing over without getting stuck in the skin on the sides. If it is a recurring problem, the doctor may apply some solution to the root of the nail to prevent the part of the nail that grows into the skin.

After the procedure, your child should wear open-toed shoes or go barefoot as much as possible until the toe heals. Ingrown toenails can be prevented with simple measures. Make sure that your child wears shoes that fit properly, not too narrow or tight. Trim their toenails straight across, not curved. You can just file down the edges so they don’t poke.

If your child has an ingrown toenail, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our podiatrists. We have same-day appointments available at over 75 clinics nationwide, including St. Augustine, FL.