DESCRIPTIONIngrown toenail is a condition in which the sharp edge of a nail grows into the flesh of a toe, usually the great (big) toe. Ingrown toenail can affect both sexes, all ages, but is most common in adolescents and adults.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to remove the nail.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, and heat in your child's toe where the sharp nail edge pierces the surrounding fold of tissue. Once tissue surrounding the nail becomes inflamed, infection usually develops in the injured area.
CAUSESYour child's nail formation is more curved than normal.
The child's toenail is clipped back too far, allowing tissue to grow up over it.
Shoes fit poorly, forcing the toe of the shoe against the nail and surrounding tissue.
The child participates in activities that require sudden stops ("toe jamming").
An ingrown toenail is likely to accompany one of the following conditions:
Any of the circumstances listed as causes.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should wear roomy, well-fitting shoes.
Cut the child's toenails carefully. Children with diabetes mellitus or peripheral vascular disease should be especially careful in trimming toenails. Foot injury is dangerous with these disorders because of impaired blood circulation to the feet.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSChronic infection that cannot be cured without surgery.
Curable with treatment. Oral antibiotics usually relieve symptoms of infection within 1 week. Then part or all of the child's toenail is removed surgically and the nail bed is scraped so the problem will not recur. The child's nail should grow back, but it probably won't look the same.
HOME CAREThe following home treatment is appropriate either before or after surgery:
Use immersion soaks.
Lift the nail corners free of surrounding inflamed tissue by wedging a small piece of cotton under the child's nail around the edges. Protect the inflamed tissue from further injury.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight infection.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve. The child may need to wear a shoe with the toe cut out until the toe heals.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?After surgery, when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of an ingrown toenail.
The following occurs during treatment or after surgery:
-- Increased pain.
-- Signs of infection (pain, redness, tenderness, swelling, or heat) in the toe.