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Help! My Child’s Ingrown Toenail Keep Coming Back

We often have parents of 8 to 16-year-olds bring their kids in for the second time for the same problem: an ingrown toenail on their big toe that’s causing them (both mum and child), much pain and frustration. And they usually have the same questions: 


Why has the ingrown nail come back? 

How can we stop it from coming back?


While ingrown toenails can have different causes, one of the most common causes we see in kids of this age is an incorrect nail cutting technique. And by cutting, we mean pulling/ripping/picking the nails. Here’s what you should know about this scenario and ingrown toenails for your child.



1. The way kids trim their toenails matters – a lot

When we see multiple ingrown toenail in kids, one of the first things we check is the way they’re cutting their nails. Most often – if they’re happy to admit it – they pull at their nails and rip them off. Doing this often requires kids to pull at the very end to get it all off, and so where they pull, a small spicule in the nail is left behind – instead of a smooth, straight line across the nail.


As the toenail grows, the spicule keeps moving further out until it pushes into and pierces the skin. Just like that, we have an ingrown toenail.


2. When nails are pulled, the problem is hidden

While many may try to see where the problem is and what the nail is doing, pulling the nail often hides the real problem far down the side of the nail, making it difficult for both kids and parents to fix. Even trying to trim and file the nail at this point won’t work for everyone – and often it only gives some temporary relief until the nail keeps growing out. Unfortunately, unless you deal with ingrown toenails all day every day (like us!) it’s very hard to fix what you can’t see. 


3. The cost adds up

For kids with ingrown toenails, we offer two treatment types: either to remove the nail spicule as a one-off treatment, or to remove the nail spicule alongside a very small part of the nail edge, applying a solution that prevents the nail edge from growing back – and thereby solving the problem for good.


The good news is that both options will help relieve your child’s pain and symptoms. The difference is that the one-off treatment means another ingrown nail can develop on this toe – while the permanent treatment will save you from coming back to see us for more ingrown toenails (on the same toe) again and again.


As cost is often a consideration for parents so we feel it’s important to mention it here. A one-off treatment is less expensive than the permanent treatment, which is a minor surgery involving anaesthetic and dressings. However, after you’ve been back to us a few times for the same problem – the cost levels out and becomes the same (plus the one-off care costs you more time and frustration with getting to your appointments and hearing your child be in pain).


This is why most parents choose the permanent solution. The procedure is done in our clinic, in approximately one hour, while your child plays on the phone, reads or distracts themselves. We also often see parents who have tried to control the ingrown nail with the one-off care once or twice, then decide enough is enough, and opt for the minor surgery.


Want That Ingrown Nail To Stop Coming Back?

If you’ve had enough and want to get rid of that ingrown toenail once and for all – or this is your child’s first ingrown nail and you want to give them that relief (and hopefully it won’t come back for them), we’re here to help. We offer same-day ingrown toenail treatment (pending appointment availability) so book your appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here.


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About the author

Hanan Kane