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How To Properly Trim Your Toenails

Properly cutting your toenails is key to preventing painful ingrown toenails, a condition in which the nail, most often the one on your big toe, curves and grows into the skin.  

Ingrown toenails hurt and can even lead to infection. They are of particular concern for anyone who has diabetes. The expert podiatrists ex Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, offer the following step-by-step guide to proper toenail trimming. 

Tools of the trade

There’s no substitute for bonafide toenail clippers. Don’t use the same clippers as for your fingernails. Your toenails are broader and thicker, so they require a larger clipper. Make sure to clean your clippers thoroughly. Disinfect with rubbing alcohol before and after using.

Proper technique

Cut straight across; avoid cutting nails into a curved shape. Don’t cut nails too short. Doing so is another cause of ingrown toenails. We recommended maintaining your toenails at a length of about 1 to 2 millimeters.

Also, always trim your nails when they’re dry. Wet nails are more likely to tear, bend, and are more difficult to cut smoothly.

It’s easiest to groom your toenails in two cuts. For the first, clip a little off the side of the nail to create a straight edge. Then, remove the rest of the nail following the line of the straight cut.

Don’t trim your cuticles. Instead, push them back with a cuticle stick. Cutting your cuticles can cause bleeding or infection.

Cut frequency

On average, toenails grow 2 millimeters per month. That means for most people trimming between six and eight weeks is appropriate. However, if you’re an incredibly active person or an athlete, more frequent trimming may be necessary for your comfort.

Finish-off with a file 

Smooth out any jagged or rough edges with an emery board. Rough edges can snag and cause the nail to tear as it grows.

Tackling thick toenails

If your toenails are e thick, often resulting from a fungal infection, prep your feet first. Here’s how:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften your nails.
  • Make small cuts with the clipper to avoid splintering the nail. Then cut straight across. 
  • If thickened toenails are too painful or difficult to cut yourself, call us for advice or an appointment. 

For more information on toenail trimming or ingrown toenails, contact us today by phone or online form. We have 15 convenient locations throughout Southeast Georgia and South Carolina for your foot and ankle care needs.

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