Take precautions to prevent common foot ailment in children

Published On: Apr 23 2012 01:44:08 PM EDT
Updated On: May 10 2012 11:51:28 AM EDT

(NewsUSA) - Parents can prevent one of the most common childhood foot problems by following some simple recommendations.

Foot and ankle surgeons say ingrown toenails are a condition they treat frequently in children. Surgeons say many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. The problem is that ingrown toenails often break the skin. That allows bacteria to enter and cause an infection.

Tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect toenail trimming cause most pediatric ingrown toenails, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). In other cases, children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.

Parents, consider these recommendations:

- 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.

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

- Never try to dig out an ingrown toenail or cut it off. These dangerous "bathroom surgeries" carry a high risk for infection.

- Have a qualified doctor treat a child's ingrown toenail. A minor surgical procedure can eliminate the pain and often prevent the condition from coming back.

A foot and ankle surgeon may prescribe antibiotics if there's an infection.

One thing parents can do to reduce their child's pain is to soak the affected foot in room-temperature water. Then gently massage the side of the nail fold.

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