Learn How a Foot Specialist Cuts Toenails

A self-performed nail trim may seem like a simple task. However, many people make plenty of mistakes when trimming their nails. 

Failing to follow the correct technique can lead to a wide array of painful toenail problems, like ingrown toenails (P.S. you should never try to cut your own ingrown toenails), cracked toenails, and even infections like toenail fungus.

In the world of podiatry and chiropody, a trim nail is serious business. There are guidelines to follow to protect your toenail health, and foot specialists also recommend specific tools of the trade. The good news is you can learn to trim your toenails properly from home.

Let’s look at common toenail trimming errors (and useful tips) and then learn how to cut your toenails like a pro!

Toenail Trimming: Common Errors and Helpful Tips 

  • Don’t trim your toenails when they are wet. Everyday Health notes you should trim them while dry for a smoother cut.
  • Don’t clip your toenails too short. This almost guarantees ingrown toenails, as the skin can overlap the toenail.
  • Use the right toenail clippers and avoid using unusual objects for toenail trimming, like standard scissors.
  • Curving the edges of your toenails may look aesthetically pleasing, but experts suggest not doing this. It will put you at risk of ingrown toenails, so trim your toenails straight across instead.
  • Clip your toenails every six to eight weeks. Don’t wait longer, or it will be more difficult. Athletes may want to clip more frequently.
  • Maintain a toenail length of 1 to 2 mm, no shorter. Toenail growth can be quite slow sometimes.
  • If you don’t have the right tools, enough time, or simply the confidence to focus on a nail trim, try a medical pedicure instead. It includes the right nail trimming procedure and concludes with a relaxing (and beneficial) moisturizing session, thorough cleaning, and more. Before the nail trim, a chiropodist also examines your feet for other foot conditions.
  • Try OnyFix if you’re already burdened with ingrown toenails. This non-invasive, pain-free procedure ensures your toenails grow in the right direction.

How a Foot Specialist Cuts Toenails

  1. Start with a clean, dry base. A clean base keeps your tools from slipping and eliminates debris so you can see the toenails clearly. Cut your toenails after a shower or bath and ensure they’re dry, using a towel to soak up any excess water.
  2. Use sharp nail clippers or nickel-plated pedicure scissors. Remember, toenails are thick, so flimsy tools will just cause mistakes.
  3. Clip nails straight across. There should be no curving of the edges or cutting the nails down too far. A straight cut keeps the nail growing in the right direction.
  4. Trim once more if needed. If the first trim doesn’t look quite right, trim straight across one more time. Cut along the straight line of the initial cut to clean up the edges.
  5. Use a nail file. This tool is necessary for properly smoothing the edges of the nails. After the trimming, there will likely be some jagged edges, sharp corners, and “spikes.”


Looking for More on Toenail Health?

At Feet First Clinic, we know a thing or two about toenails and nail trims. If you have questions, concerns or are simply in need of an appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Call us at 416-769-3338 (FEET) or use our online booking form to schedule a foot assessment!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.