Children’s soccer linked to ingrown toenails.

Snug cleats, repeated kicking can contribute to a painful problem

Toes and feet can take a beating, especially from sports. I treat many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails throughout the fall months. This painful problem can be attributed mainly to improper toenail trimming, snug soccer cleats and repetitive kicking.

Many kids wear hand-me-down cleats that don’t fit properly and older children like tighter cleats, believing it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.

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. Remember, child’s shoe size can change within a single soccer season.

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. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons lists myths about ingrown toenail home treatments on its website, FootHealthFacts.org.

If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care. We can remove a child’s ingrown toenail, and prevent it from returning, with a simple, 10-minute procedure. During the short procedure, we numb the toe and remove 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 and can resume normal activity the next day.