Look down at your toes. Are your toenails due for a trim? If it’s been a while since your last professional or DIY pedicure, don’t just whip out your toenail clippers and start cutting them just yet. If you don’t cut them properly, you could be setting yourself up for painful ingrown toenails showing up later. Some ingrown toenail issues respond to home care, but more serious cases may need the attention of an experienced podiatrist like Dr. Bruce Fox, DPM, and his team at Fox Podiatry to help ease your foot pain.
Toenails are considered ingrown when they curve and grow into the skin instead of straight out. When an ingrown toenail happens, you can experience pain, tenderness, and even infection.
Indications that mean toenail infection include:
- intense foot pain
- significant toe swelling
We are sure you’ll want to avoid this foot ailment at all costs. Here are the basics of trimming your nails like a pro to prevent an ingrown toenail disaster.
1) Don’t Cut Them Too Short
Leave your nails a little long when it’s time to groom them. If they are too short, it can lead to ingrown toenails AND leave them susceptible to infection.
2) Fingernail Clippers vs. Toenail Clippers
Did you know there was a difference? The tiny clippers you may see on a convenience store counter or dollar store are meant for your fingernails. Make sure you purchase toenail clippers, which are stronger and broader than their counterpart.
3) Keep Them Clean
Though this should be an obvious one–make sure you keep your nail trimming tools clean, dry, and disinfected before and after using them. There is no need to buy special disinfectants or cleaning products. Simple rubbing alcohol will do the trick, or soak the clippers in dish detergent or antibacterial soap with hot water for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to dry them afterward, so they do not become rusty.
4) Cut Straight Across to a Prevent Ingrown Toenail
Take a look at your nails before you start trimming. To prevent an ingrown toenail, guide your toenail clippers straight across each toenail, and remember to avoid cutting them in a curved shape. They should not dig down on the sides but grow straight out.
5) Less is More
If you do not have enough time to trim your toenails properly–wait. We suggest that you don’t try and clip each nail in one shot. Make a few careful minor cuts across each nail for the best results.
6) Don’t Try This in the Shower
Are you thinking of having an at-home spa day? Before you start the pedicure portion of your relaxing experience, make sure your feet and toenails are dry. Wet nails tend to bend, tear and not cut smoothly because the dampness makes them softer.
7) Get Some Assistance
Ask a friend or loved one for some help if you are having some difficulty reaching your feet or safely using nail clippers.
8) Keep an Eye on Them
Usually, toenails grow 1-2 millimeters a month. Try keeping your toenail maintenance on a schedule and trim every 6-8 weeks. If you live a very active lifestyle, you may want to trim more often.
Trimming your toenails may seem like a simple self-care task, but it isn’t something you should do carelessly. By making sure you cut them properly, you can reduce ingrown toenails and other future foot problems.
You depend on your feet every day–give them the care that they so deserve.
Ingrown Toenail? Something Else? It May Be Time to See a Podiatrist in Silver Spring, MD
Proper toenail trimming practices can go a long way towards helping your feet stay looking and feeling great–but sometimes other foot problems may require a professional’s expertise and attention.
- Painful ingrown toenails
- Recurring ingrown toenails
- Toenail Fungal infections
- Black or discolored toenails
- Toenails that are falling off
Our team of Podiatry experts in Silver Spring, MD, can help you get to the root of the problem and advise a course of action to obtain a healthier and more comfortable situation on your feet.