Snug cleats, repeated kicking can contribute to a painful problem
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 8/31/18) Toes and feet can take a beating, especially from sports.
Foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, says he treats many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails. He blames improper toenail trimming, snug soccer cleats and repetitive kicking for creating this painful problem.
“Many kids wear hand-me-down cleats that don’t fit,” says Gordon. “Older children like tighter cleats. They believe it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.”
Dr. Gordon has offices in Northern Virginia and is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He says 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. Steven Gordon 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. Gordon warns parents against home treatments, which can be dangerous. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons lists myths about ingrown toenail home treatments on its Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.
“If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care,” says Dr. Steven Gordon.
A foot and ankle surgeon like Dr. Gordon can remove a child’s ingrown toenail, and prevent it from returning, with a simple, 10-minute surgical procedure. During the short procedure, the doctor numbs 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 pain afterwards,” says Gordon, “and can resume normal activity the next day.”