Children's feet should never hurt, even as they grow. But ingrown toenails in kids are a major issue facing many of our younger patients. And boy are they painful!
An ingrown toenail is a problem that occurs when the edge of your child’s nail (usually the one on the big toe) grows into the skin around it. Not only will your child be in pain when this occurs, but he or she is also at risk of contracting an infection from the toenail’s unusual growth.
There are several different reasons why the nail might start growing into the skin instead of over it. Cutting the nail too short, rounding its edges or repeatedly stubbing your toe all are potential triggers for an ingrown nail. One of the most common reasons a child’s nail will become ingrown, however, is due to ill-fitting shoes.
Your child’s foot grows quickly and, as a result, he or she may be wearing too-tight shoes before you realize they need a new pair. Think of what this means: every day, your little one’s toes will be rammed, several times, against the hard edge of their shoes. If you accidentally trim his or her nails too short as well, an ingrown toenail could begin to develop.
Once you notice an ingrown toenail, it’s important to schedule an appointment with our Houston podiatrist immediately, since in-office treatment for the toe will depend on how far the problem has progressed. And, since we have a range of treatment options available, you'll want to come in quickly to avoid any discomfort.
Treating Ingrown Toenails in Houston Kids
When you bring your child in with a painful toenail, we'll do a thorough foot exam. Right away, we'll look for signs of infection. (That includes drainage or pus at the site of the ingrowing nail.) Once it's clear how serious the ingrowth is, we can figure out how to correct the nail growth and relieve your child's pain.
One option includes an in-office procedure to remove the offending border of the nail. If that's the procedure we decided on together, we’ll numb your child’s toe and remove a small portion of the nail border.
In some cases, we may have to take off the entire nail, but that is less common. In really advanced situations, where we see that the problem is recurrent, we may have to take measures to permanently destroy the nail root, but that would only be discussed if less invasive options didn’t provide relief.
Recently, we added a new treatment option for ingrown toenails in kids at our podiatrist in Houston's office. This is a new and non-invasive nail correction system, making it a child-friendly option that we're so excited about!
When you choose Onyfix, you'll get an in-office, pain-free ingrown toenail treatment that can also address split or pincer nails. Best of all, you can opt for this treatment and avoid all injections, not to mention surgery, making Onyfix a popular treatment for children with ingrown toenails. But to understand how it works, we have to get to the root cause of many ingrown toenails.
What Causes Nails to Grow Inward?
There are many reason's why your child's toenails may change directions and start growing into the delicate skin around their toes. Trauma to the foot or toes can lead to this change. In some cases, improper nail trimming can be part of the problem. And that's why we suggest cutting nails in a straight line during trims. Never follow the curve of the nail bed, and always leave a bit of visible white nail, in order to reduce the risk of ingrowth.
In children, other factors can contribute to the risk for nail trauma. Wearing shoes that are too big can leave their feet sliding around. In turn, toes can slam into the hard end of those oversized shoes, causing trauma and growth. At the same time, wearing shoes that are too tight can cause the same problem. Clearly, giving kids shoes that fit properly is key to preventing ingrown nails. (P.S. Youth football and soccer players have an even higher risk, since the cleats they were during games and practices are even tougher on toenails.)
But guess what? While the outside world can change the direction of your child's nail growth, the most common cause of ingrown toenails--at any age--is actually your very own nail anatomy. And that is the root cause that Onyfix works to correct.
Onyfix for Kids' Ingrown Toenails
Your child's toenail nail is widest at the base. And, for some children, that wide base is actually larger than the nail bed. As a result, the nail must curve inward as it grows upward. If that is the case for your child, he or she will likely develop an ingrown nail even if you practice perfect trimming technique. Or always keep them in shoes that fit perfectly. In fact, if nail anatomy is the root cause of nail deformities, the ingrown nail will keep coming back after treatment. Unless, of course, you choose the Onyfix system.
You see, Onyfix is a composite product we can place (painlessly) at the base of your child's toenail. The process is actually simple: first, we’ll buff the nail so Onyfix can stick to it with greater ease, offering support as the nail grows. After we've applied Onyfix, we'll harden the product using a special UV light, and the procedure is complete!
Right after we're done with the application and hardening, your child can get right back to running, playing and just being a kid. There are no restrictions following Onyfix treatment, which is different from other treatment options that may leave your child in a surgical boot for several days after their procedure. And even young children, or kids with diabetes, can choose this ingrown toenail treatment option. They can even head right out and get a pretty pedicure afterwards, as long as you steer clear of gel polishes, since they're likely to interfere with Onyfix.
Not sure which treatment option will be best for your child? Not to worry, we're here to help you make the right decision for your circumstances. After all, in our office, your child’s foot comfort and health is of utmost importance. We take extra care with our young patients, since feet allow kids to do their most important jobs: play. If anything is affecting your son or daughter’s ability to walk, run or enjoy life, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive foot evaluation.