How To Cut Your Toenails Like a Professional
As simple as it may seem, trimming and filing your toenails correctly is an important part of maintaining proper foot health. It can save you from pesky and rather painful nail problems, such as ingrown toenails, broken toenails, and toenail related infections.
Here are the Dos and Don’ts of toenail cutting.
Wash and Dry Your Feet First
Clean your feet at least once a day to maintain proper hygiene. Your feet are either in contact with the ground or very close to it couped up in a pair of shoes. These circumstances make them highly susceptible to come in contact with harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Thoroughly drying your feet will also ensure your tools do not slip and you are able to see the nail edge clearly.
Have the Right Tool(s) Available
To trim your toenails, you will need a pair of sharp nail clippers or professional nail nippers if you have very thick nails. You will also need a nail file.
Clip Nails Straight Across
When cutting the toenail, the safest way to do it is to cut the nail straight across. This will ensure the toenail continues to grow forward.
File Sharp or Jagged Edges
This is an important step. Always file any sharp corners or jagged edges to ensure the nail edge is smooth. Sharp corners can catch on socks or even poke the surrounding skin. This also ensures you do not leave a nail spike behind to grow into the skin and cause a very painful ingrown toenail.
Wait Too Long Between Trimming Toenails
Although toenails do not grow as quickly as fingernails, they still need to be trimmed routinely. You should cut your toenails at least once every eight weeks. Keeping them long is not only uncomfortable in socks and closed-toe shoes, but it also increases the risk of the toenail breaking or cracking, and thus increases the risk of infection.
Rip, Peel, or Bite Your Toenails
Using your fingers or any other body part to “trim” your toenails is very unsafe (and unhygienic!). You have very little control when doing this and more often than not, the nail is left too short, jagged, and removed too deep.
Trim The Nails Too Short or Too Deep
The skin surrounding the nail should not be higher than the toenail as this may cause the nail to grow into the skin instead of on top of it. Rather, the nail should be cut to the edge of the skin and should not be cut deeper than that. Cutting the nails too short can also expose the nail bed underneath, making the area very tender.
Use Dirty Tools
Clean your tools regularly with rubbing alcohol or regularly replace them if they are disposable. Using tools that harbor germs and bacteria can be dangerous, especially if you accidentally nick your skin or have an ingrown toenail.
If you suspect you have a toenail issue, do not wait to seek attention from a licensed chiropodist, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes. A chiropodist will be able to assess the problem and explore the appropriate treatment options.
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