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Tips for Healthy Toenails: Prevention and Care

Toenail care is your shield from future foot issues. Foot conditions affecting the toenails can lead to infections, fungus, brittle and damaged nails, pain, bleeding and more. But you have the power to prevent these complications! By investing in proper footwear, learning to trim your nails properly, and more, you can take the reins on your toenail health.

Let’s talk toenails!

Preventing Fungal Infections and Other Toenail Conditions

Practice Proper Toenail Trimming

It would be nice to have a professional always trim our nails for us, but sometimes we do have to do toenail care ourselves. To prevent issues or conditions, trim your nails following these two simple steps: 

  • Use nail clippers to trim straight across (very important), avoiding curved edges.
  • Smooth edges with a nail file if needed.

Keep Your Feet Clean and Protected

Fungal toenails love when you forget to care for your feet. 

Make sure you always thoroughly clean and dry your feet before wearing socks and shoes. To go the extra mile and protect from skin issues, moisturize, exfoliate and use a foot file.

Avoid areas where contagious fungal viruses breed and are passed along. These include public pool grounds, public showers, shared locker rooms, and more. If you frequent places like this, always wear shoes. 

Pedicure safety and hygiene are also very important when it comes to prevention. Schedule medical pedicure appointments with your chiropodist instead of a cosmetic pedicure to avoid contracting a contagious fungal infection and for a more health-focused experience. Learn more about the difference between a cosmetic and medical pedicure

Make Healthy Footwear Choices

The link connecting toenail issues and footwear may seem unclear, but picture it this way:

When our shoes are too tight it often means there is not enough room for the toes to spread out naturally. This can wreak havoc on your nails and you also risk annoying ingrown toenails or a cracked toenail. Always buy shoes with enough room in the toe box!

Take it to the next level by looking for running shoes with mesh uppers that allow air to flow inside the shoe. This is a bonus way of keeping your toes fresh and protecting against fungal infections. Check out this handy shoe shopping checklist for even more help!

Toenail Care for Pre-existing Conditions 

Anti-fungal Treatments for Toenails

You won’t be able to treat a current fungal infection without using antifungal products or visiting a chiropodist. Products include sprays, ointments and sometimes pills. At times, over-the-counter versions like ClearNails Pro + (available at Feet First Clinic) are enough, but other times, you’ll need a prescription for a persistent infection. Chiropodists can also perform nail debridement, which involves removing the infected part of the nail and thinning the outer layers of the toenail. This allows prescription-strength topical antifungal medication to penetrate the toenail and reach the fungus. 

Treating Cracked Toenails

Cracked toenails are more of a nuisance than a serious problem. But messing with your toenails in any way can still cause bleeding and pain. You may be more susceptible to cracks if your nails are weak and brittle.

If you’re looking for some ways to speed up nail growth, but also to strengthen your nails as they are, try these toenail growth tips:

  • As we’ve mentioned, trim nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin
  • Again, wear well-fitting shoes. Tight shoes can disrupt healthy toenail growth. 
  • Protect toenails during physical activities. 
  • Avoid excessive use of nail polish. While polish itself doesn’t slow growth, some types can cause toenail dehydration, making your nails more likely to crack. 
  • Eat a balanced diet for nail health.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

OnyFix is a useful and modern way of treating ingrown toenails. It involves the application of a specialized corrective strip to the affected nail. Nail avulsions can also be a good idea for chronic, severe ingrown nails, and chiropodists may tackle infections using certain draining methods. 

Treating Toenail Discolouration 

Discoloured toenails are tricky because the colours can vary wildly. Discolouration caused by a fungal infection (green or yellow) may be treated using similar methods as fungal toenails. But if your discolouration is black, blue, purple, or red, this is probably linked to a mild blunt-force trauma injury (like dropping something on your toe). It’s best to schedule a nail care appointment to determine the culprit!

closeup of black toenail white background

Say Hello to Toenail Care and Healthy Toenails!

Whether you need a nail care appointment to treat a current problem, or you’re looking for the best way to prevent a nail condition before it happens, we’ve got the expertise you need at Feet First Clinic! Call us at (416) 769-3338 or book an appointment here!

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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.