Preventing ingrown toenails in children

Parents can help prevent a common and painful foot problem in children by following a few simple tips, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

Foot and ankle surgeons say ingrown toenails are a common condition they treat in children. The doctors blame tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming for most cases. In other cases, children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve, according to http://FootPhysicians.com.

Surgeons say many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. Over time, the nail may break the skin and lead to dangerous infections. The ACFAS gives these recommendations to help parents prevent ingrown toenails in their children.

Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don't cut them too short.

Make sure children's shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure that the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child's foot.

If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, parents can reduce the inflammation by soaking the child's foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.

The only proper way to treat a child's ingrown toenail is with a minor surgical procedure at a doctor's office. Parents should never try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous "bathroom surgeries" carry a high risk for infection. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics to children with infected ingrown toenails.

For more information on ingrown toenails, visit the ACFAS Web site, http://FootPhysicians.com.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of more than 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College's mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its consumer Web site, http://FootPhysicians.com.

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