Toe Nail Trimming Best Practices

21 Mar Toe Nail Trimming Best Practices

5 Tips for Trimming Toenails

When it’s time to cut your toenails, do you just grab the clippers, grab your foot and start hacking away? Sadly, many people do, but that approach can lead to foot problems like a fungal nail and ingrown nail.

These conditions may seem minor, but their symptoms are uncomfortable and even painful. What’s more, they look awful and that keeps you from looking and feeling your best. Here are five steps to proper foot care when trimming your toenails.

1. Don’t Cut Yourself Short

When you cut your toenails, you want them to be short enough to be out of your way when you’re wearing sneakers or other closed shoes. At the same time, cutting them too short hangs out a welcome sign that says, “Come on in, fungal nail and ingrown nail.”

You’ll know you’re cutting them too short if it starts to hurt when you’re trimming. If you hit a sore spot, top trimming that nails for a few months and allows it to grow out a little.

2. Keep It Straight, Unless…

You’ve probably heard that you should always cut your toenails straight across. That’s usually true, but occasionally there are exceptions to this rule.

If you have curving toenails that have a tendency to get embedded into your skin, you may need to cut them along the sides to prevent the nails from becoming ingrown. The best way to know for sure is to ask your podiatrist.

Fingernail fashions come and go, and you may find that your manicurist cuts them in a different shape and angle every time you go in. That’s fine for your fingernails. Just don’t cut your toenails to match.

3. Keep It Clean

The best time to cut your toenails is after a bath, shower or foot soak. That’s because the nails are soft and much easier to cut.

There’s another reason that this is the best time to trim. Your feet are clean then, and when it comes to toenail hygiene, cleanliness is key.

Keep the clean theme going by washing your cutting implements in hot water and wiping them with rubbing alcohol. Doing this will keep bacteria and bugs at bay.

4. Run, Spot, Run

If you see ugly black or green spots on your toenails, it’s time to head for the podiatrist. These could be the first signs of a fungal infection.

Fungal infection often starts with greenish or yellowish staining of the toenails. It then develops into flaky, itchy skin, redness and swelling, and toenails that turn dark yellow, thick and crumbly. It’s not a pretty sight.

Over-the-counter treatments can help with fungal conditions like athlete’s foot, but they won’t clear up a fungal nail. Call a podiatrist who can prescribe a treatment that works.

5. Finish by Filing

If you just leave your cut toenails as they are, they’ll have rough edges that can tear your stockings or scratch your skin. Finish off your toenail-trimming job with a filing. This gives your newly-trimmed nails a soft edge that is much more pleasant.

If you find that cutting your nails or filing them makes your toenails break into hard, gritty crumbs, you probably have a fungal infection and should consult foot care professional.

Get Ready to Flaunt Your Feet

If you want feet that are ready when summer comes, the time to start fixing them is now. If you have a fungal nail, ingrown nail or other nail concerns, contact Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine. With the right care and hygiene, your toenails can look nice and healthy by the time barefoot weather rolls around.

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