Parents can prevent a common childhood foot problem by following some simple recommendations, according to a Bell County foot and ankle surgeon.

Dr. H. Ashley Ledger said ingrown toenails are one of the most frequent conditions he treats in children.

Many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. An ingrown nail can break the skin and lead to dangerous infections.

Ledger blames tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming for most cases. In others, the children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.

Ledger offers the following tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons:

Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short.

Make sure children’s shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child’s foot.

If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, reduce the inflammation by soaking the child’s foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.

The only proper way to treat a child’s ingrown toenail is with a minor surgical procedure at a doctor’s office. Parents should not try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous “bathroom surgeries” carry a high risk of infection. Ledger said he may prescribe antibiotics to children with infected ingrown toenails.

Want more information about pediatric foot problems such as ingrown toenails? Call Dr. H. Ashley Ledger at 254-519-3668.

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