Children's Soccer Linked to Ingrown Toenails - Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Children’s Soccer Linked to Ingrown Toenails


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For the active child, toes and feet can take a beating, especially if they are active in sports. Fall soccer season is in full swing, and many parents may be seeing some toenail issues cropping up with their kids.

Triad Foot & Ankle Center podiatrist Matthew R. Wagoner, DPM, says he treats many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails. He credits improper toenail trimming, snug soccer cleats and repetitive kicking for creating this painful problem.

“Sports equipment can be expensive for parents. Many kids wear hand-me-down cleats that don’t fit and have been worn in from another child’s foot,” says Wagoner. “Likewise, older children like tighter cleats. They believe it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.”

There are steps soccer moms and dads 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 cleats fit properly.

“A child’s shoe size can change within a single soccer season,” Dr. Wagoner reminds parents.

If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, soaking their foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold can reduce the inflammation. But Dr. Wagoner warns parents against home treatments, which can be dangerous. Trying to ‘dig out’ an ingrown toenail can cause a serious infection, accompanied by acute pain. If your child’s ingrown toenail shows signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care.

A podiatrist can safely remove a child’s ingrown toenail, and prevent it from returning with a simple, 10-minute surgical procedure performed right in the office. During the short procedure, the specialist will numb the toe and removes the ingrown portion of the nail. Various techniques can permanently remove part of a nail’s root too, preventing it from growing back. Most children experience very little discomfort afterward, especially considering the pain they most likely endured with the ingrown toenail prior to treatment. Normal activity can resume the next day.

For more information on ingrown toenails and other pediatric foot problems, request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists. In most cases, we can see you and your child within a few days! Dr. Wagoner is currently accepting new patients in our Greensboro and Burlington offices.

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