SMYRNA, Tenn. -- With a growing number of kids coming into his office with problems related to sports, a Rutherford County foot surgeon is reminding parents that by taking just a few precautions, ingrown toenails can be avoided.
Foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Matthew Neuhaus said he treats many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails and blames 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,” said Neuhaus, who runs the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle practice in Smyrna. “Older children like tighter cleats. They believe it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.”
Neuhaus is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and he is board certified in foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery. The California College of Podiatric Medicine alumnus has been practicing medicine in Tennessee for 10 years.
Neuhaus says 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 avoid cutting them too short.
Second, make sure cleats fit properly.
“A child’s shoe size can change within a single soccer season,” Neuhaus said.
If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, soaking the foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold can reduce the inflammation.
However, Neuhaus warns parents against home treatments, which can be dangerous.
“If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care,” he said.
A foot and ankle surgeon like Neuhaus 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 afterward,” he said, “and can resume normal activity the next day.”
For more information on ingrown toenails and other pediatric foot problems, contact the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle office at 615-220-8788 or www.neufoot.com.