Do you like to stand around and watch grass grow? If you answered “no” chances are, you’re not so interested in watching your toenails grow either. It usually takes a toenail anywhere between four, to twelve, even as long as 18 months to completely grow out. Put another way, that’s about 1 mm per month, which amounts to growth imperceptible to the human eye. In fact, toenails generally grow out only half as fast as your fingernails.
It’s harder with kids!
That’s probably why so many of us put off regularly trimming them. Compared to other hygienic routines, the process is so slow, we simply don’t need a regular toenail-trimming routine, and with our children, the task is often even more sporadic. Daily activities like getting them dressed, brushing their teeth and hair combing takes far more precedence than checking their toenails.
With all that going on, it’s easy to forget about your kid’s feet, but it’s a bad idea to leave them to their own devices. When kids pick at their toenails, they tend to rip off their nails without using clippers. The jagged edge of the nail is now at an increased risk of coming in unevenly and digging into the skin.
And compared to your own feet, trying to trim a child’s toenails is a whole different ballgame! Kids squirm around a lot and it’s easy for parents to accidentally trim nails too short. Short nails are more likely to grow back into the skin, resulting in pain and discomfort. This is essentially what an ingrown toenail involves. A corner of the toenail has essentially grown in crooked and is now burrowing into the skin.
You’ll know it when you see it.
For most people, it’s obvious when they have developed an ingrown toenail. When the end of the toe becomes red, inflamed and painful to touch, you probably have an ingrown nail. This condition is especially prominent on the big toe. Some people experience whitish or yellow pus in the area and may also have fevers.
You need relief right away.
The first thing you should do is try soaking your foot in warm salt water. Giving your foot a bath with Epsom salt is also highly recommended. This may help relieve the swelling and discomfort until you can get an appointment with your podiatrist.
The podiatrist can help.
If you have ever experienced an ingrown toenail, it’s no trifling matter and it’s nothing to feel silly about. It may be time to visit the podiatrist. He may use local anesthesia to comfortably numb your toe. Then he can easily perform some cuts to the nail to relieve the pressure or possibly drain further pus. Sometimes, he may remove a larger chunk of your nail than you anticipated, and in some circumstances, he may indeed need to remove the entire nail. He can also give you solid advice on how to trim your nails in the future, greatly reducing the chance of a repeat visit to the medical office.
Are you nervous about trimming your child’s nails? Share your stories with us!
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