Thursday, April 16, 2009

Toes and feet can take a beating, especially from sports...

Snug cleats, repeated kicking can contribute to a painful problem:

Foot and ankle surgeons treat many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails. Doctors blame 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 one podiatrist. “Older children like tighter cleats. They believe it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.”

Many podiatrists say 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.

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 doctors warn 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,

If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care.

A foot and ankle surgeon 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 and can resume normal activity the next day.

If you child has an ingrown toenail, do not delay, call Dr. Vail for an appointment!

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