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Why You Shouldn't Use Fingernail Clippers for Your Toenails

Why You Shouldn’t Use Fingernail Clippers for Your Toenails

There’s always the right tool for the job. Using each tool for its intended purpose is best, or you risk doing more damage than good. That’s why fingernail clippers and toenail clippers exist.

To understand why, it’s important to understand the difference between toenails and fingernails. Toenails are thicker, harder, and grow slower than fingernails because your feet and hands serve different functions. Toenails also have a greater surface area.

In this blog post, we explain why you should avoid using fingernail clippers for your toenails and opt for toenail clippers exclusively.

Reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal contamination

Why You Shouldn't Use Fingernail Clippers for Your Toenails

For one, separating your nail tools prevents contamination and possible spread of bacteria and fungus. Given how exposed your hands are every day, you wouldn’t want to spread any bacteria to your feet.

When in doubt, clean your clippers with 70%—90% isopropyl alcohol.

Fingernail clippers may not work on toenails

Close up image of clipping thick toenail

When looking at fingernail vs. toenail clippers, the size difference is stark. Fingernail clippers are smaller, narrower, and curved. Toenail clippers are larger, wider, and straight across, as you should trim your toenails straight across. Cutting them with a curved edge increases your risk of ingrown toenails.

If you want more guidance on choosing the tool for your toenails, read our blog post on our top choices for toenail clippers.

Limit the risk of cracking and damaging your toenails

Proper nail care may help prevent toenail thickening

Using sharp, rigid toenail clippers makes trimming easy and more effective. Using fingernail clippers means you’ll need to apply more pressure to cut the nail and risk damaging or even cracking the toenail.

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 includes moisturization, thorough cleaning, and more. Before the nail trim, a chiropodist also examines your feet for other foot conditions.

Prevent ingrown toenails

professional nail trimming ingrown toenail prevention

You’ll also notice the curvature of fingernail vs. toenail clippers. Fingernail clippers are curved and meant to follow the contours of your fingernails. On the other hand, toenails are plateaued and should be cut straight across. Using a curved tool on your toenails puts you at risk of jagged edges, nail splitting, or could be a root cause of ingrown toenails.

If you wish, use a nail file to round the edges. 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.”

Need a hand with your toenails? You've come to the right place

Opt for the right tools to avoid uneven cuts and jagged edges. While a quality pair of toenail clippers may require a small investment, it’s worthwhile for your foot health. Alternatively, you can visit us for a medical pedicure to have your toenails professionally trimmed.

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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.