You might think that clipping your toenails is a straightforward activity, hardly deserving of much thought. However, improper toenail care can lead to complications like ingrown toenails and fungal infections.
At Concord Podiatry, our foot and ankle specialist, Dr. David E. Biss, prioritizes your foot health. From treating foot ailments to guiding you on proper foot care, our practice is dedicated to ensuring that you walk through life as comfortably as possible. Here’s the proper technique for clipping your toenails.
Use the right tools for toenails
The first step in proper toenail care is having the right tools for the job. A good pair of toenail clippers that are specifically designed for the task is essential. Clippers should be sharp as well as clean to prevent any bacterial infection.
Avoid using fingernail clippers on your toenails, as they may not be sturdy enough for thicker toenails. Doing so can lead to splitting or breaking rather than getting a clean cut, making you susceptible to infections. At Concord Podiatry, we can recommend the best tools for your foot care needs.
Clip toenails straight across
Many people believe they should be rounding their toenails when they clip them — but this can be harmful. It often leads to ingrown toenails, a painful condition that may require professional treatment. Instead, clip your nails straight across, and then use a file to slightly smooth out any sharp edges.
The aim is to keep your toenails long enough so the nail’s corners lie loosely against the skin. This is where expert advice from Concord Podiatry can prove to be invaluable. Dr. Biss can provide personalized guidelines based on the condition of your toenails.
Avoid cutting toenails too short
Overzealous toenail clipping can be as damaging as leaving them too long. Cutting your toenails too short can expose the sensitive skin underneath, making it prone to infection. This is especially crucial if you have a condition that affects your nerves and blood vessels like diabetes.
If you're uncertain about the right length for your toenails, it's best to consult with a podiatric expert.
Clean your toes before and after
Cleanliness is key in any aspect of personal care, and toenail clipping is no exception. Make sure to wash your feet before clipping your toenails to remove any bacteria or fungi that may be present. Dry your feet thoroughly as well.
After clipping your toenails, rinse your feet again to wash away any nail debris. This simple but effective practice can save you a visit to Concord Podiatry for a treatable, yet avoidable, foot infection.
Soften toenails before cutting
Clipping hard, brittle nails increases the risk of splitting or fracturing the nail, which can lead to infections or other complications. It's a good idea to soften your toenails before you start clipping them.
The easiest way to do this is to clip your toenails after a shower or bath. If your toenails are particularly hard, soaking your feet in warm water for a few minutes can help make the clipping process easier.
How often you should clip your toenails depends on how quickly they grow. However, most people find that clipping every two to three weeks is sufficient. Regular foot checkups at Concord Podiatry can also help maintain your toenail health, and Dr. Biss can ensure that you’re clipping them at an appropriate frequency.
Proper toenail care is more than just a cosmetic concern; it's essential for maintaining good foot health. By following these guidelines, you can prevent a range of foot problems that could otherwise disrupt your daily life.
For expert advice tailored to your specific needs, call our office in Concord and Plymouth, New Hampshire, to schedule a visit today. We're dedicated to helping you put your best foot forward.