Pediatric Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem that affects people of all ages, including kids. As a parent, it can be concerning to see your child in discomfort due to an ingrown toenail. At Richardson Podiatry Center, we understand the importance of addressing this issue promptly and effectively.

In this blog, we will explore what ingrown toenails are, why kids may get them, when to seek professional help, and the available treatment options. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and guidance to ensure your child’s foot health and well-being.

What Are Ingrown Toenails?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. This condition can affect any toe, but it most commonly occurs on the big toe. Ingrown toenails can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, and they should never be ignored, especially in children.

What Are The Symptoms?

Identifying the symptoms of an ingrown toenail is crucial for timely intervention. Common signs to look out for include:

  • Pain and tenderness along the edge of the toenail.
  • Redness and swelling around the affected toe.
  • Discomfort while walking or wearing shoes.
  • Formation of pus or drainage if the ingrown toenail becomes infected.
Child, touching sibling on the beach on the feet with feather, kid cover in sand, smiling, laughing

Why Do Kids Get Ingrown Toenails?

Several factors contribute to the development of ingrown toenails in children:

Improper Footwear

Wearing tight-fitting or ill-fitting shoes can exert pressure on the toes, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails. It’s essential to ensure that your child’s shoes fit properly and provide enough room for the toes to move freely.

Incorrect Nail Trimming

Cutting toenails too short or rounding the corners can cause the nail to grow into the skin. Teach your child the proper way to trim their nails or help them with the task.


Stubbing the toe or sustaining an injury to the nail can result in an ingrown toenail. Encourage your child to be cautious and avoid any activities that may lead to toe injuries.

Inherited Foot Structure

Some children may have inherited foot structures that make them more prone to developing ingrown toenails. If you have a family history of ingrown toenails, be vigilant and monitor your child’s foot health closely.

When Do They Need To See A Podiatrist?

If your child is experiencing the symptoms of an ingrown toenail, it is essential to seek professional care. Children may not always communicate their discomfort effectively, so pay attention to any signs of pain such as limping, or changes in their walking pattern. Early intervention can prevent the condition from worsening and reduce the risk of complications.

You should consider seeking immediate medical attention if:

  • The ingrown toenail is severe, causing significant pain and inflammation.
  • The area around the ingrown toenail becomes infected, leading to the formation of pus or drainage.
  • Your child has a medical condition, such as diabetes, that may complicate the healing process.

What Treatments Are Available?

The treatment for ingrown toenails depends on the severity of the condition:

If Not Infected

  • Soak in Warm Water and Epsom Salts: Gently soaking the affected foot in warm water mixed with Epsom salts can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. This should be done for about 15-20 minutes, several times a day.
  • Wrap with a Bandage and Apply Ointment: After soaking, carefully dry the toe and apply an antibiotic ointment. Gently wrap the toe with a bandage to protect it from further irritation.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Encourage your child to wear open-toed or wide-toed shoes that provide ample space for the toes. Avoid tight or narrow shoes during the healing process.

If Infected

  • Come in for Treatment: If the ingrown toenail is infected or causing severe pain, it is crucial to seek professional treatment. Our podiatrists can assess the condition, provide appropriate care, and offer solutions to alleviate discomfort.
  • Partial or Complete Nail Removal: In some cases, partial or complete removal of the ingrown nail may be necessary to promote healing. This procedure is relatively painless, thanks to the use of local anesthesia.

Let Us Help Your Child Get Rid of Their Ingrown Toenail

At Richardson Podiatry Center, we understand that seeing your child in pain can be distressing. Our experienced podiatrists are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective care for children with ingrown toenails. We will carefully evaluate your child’s condition, discuss treatment options with you, and ensure their comfort and well-being throughout the process.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails in Kids:

While some factors contributing to ingrown toenails may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and prevent recurrence:

  • Teach Proper Nail Care: Educate your child on the importance of proper nail trimming. Encourage them to cut their nails straight across and avoid rounding the corners.
  • Wear Proper Footwear: Ensure your child wears shoes that fit well and provide adequate space for the toes. Avoid high heels or tight-fitting shoes that may compress the toes.
  • Keep Feet Clean and Dry: Encourage good foot hygiene by washing feet daily and drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • Avoid Picking or Cutting the Nail Fold: Instruct your child to avoid picking or cutting the skin around the toenail, as it may lead to injury and increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Regular Foot Checkups: Schedule regular foot checkups with a podiatrist to monitor your child’s foot health and address any concerns promptly.

Contact Our Office for Help

If your child is experiencing discomfort from an ingrown toenail or if you suspect they may have one, don’t hesitate to reach out to Richardson Podiatry Center. Our friendly staff will assist you in scheduling an appointment and addressing your concerns. Let us help your child find relief and regain their active, carefree spirit by resolving their ingrown toenail issue promptly and efficiently. Together, we can ensure your child’s healthy and happy feet!

Ingrown toenails can be an uncomfortable and painful experience for kids. As parents, it’s essential to be vigilant and take proactive steps to prevent and address this condition. At Richardson Podiatry Center, our team of podiatrists is here to support you and your child in maintaining healthy and happy feet.

If your child is experiencing an ingrown toenail or any foot discomfort, do not hesitate to contact us. Let us help your child find relief and put their best foot forward in life. Remember, early intervention and proper foot care are the keys to ensuring your child’s foot health and well-being for years to come.