Your toenails protect the tops of your toes. Made of a strong protein called keratin, your toenails have to stand up to a lot of wear-and-tear on a daily basis.
You can support your toenails by regularly trimming them using the correct tools and technique. Proper toenail care lowers your risk of nail problems and podiatry issues like ingrown toenails or toenail fungus infections.
Expert podiatrist Leonard Greenwald, DPM, treats new and existing patients from his office in San Jose, California. Dr. Greenwald can help if you have a toenail problem currently. He can also recommend tips and techniques to maintain your toenails correctly, protecting you from problems in the future.
Here’s what Dr. Greenwald thinks you need to know about toenail trimming and care.
How frequently to trim
On average, you should trim your toenails about once a week. If your nails grow slowly, you may be able to skip a week here or there without too much trouble, but you should still maintain a regular nail-trimming habit or schedule.
Longer toenails become an increasing risk for podiatric problems as you leave them to grow. Long nails are more likely to break and provide opportunities for fungal infections to take root, or for hangnails or tears to lead to painful exposure of your underlying nail bed.
Trimming tips and techniques
If your toenails are very thick or tough, soaking in a bath, shower, or foot bath before trimming can soften them and make it easier to cut your nails with accuracy and comfort.
You should always trim your toenails straight across. It’s okay to leave the corners of your nails a little on the longer side – you mostly don’t want sharp edges to put you at risk of ingrown toenails.
When trimming your toenails, take care not to cut into your cuticles, as this can result in irritation or infection.
If you soaked your nails, let them dry before picking up your nail file. Finish by rounding off the corners of each toenail with the nail file in order to reduce the sharpness that can potentially cause ingrown toenails.
The right tools for the job
Make sure you have the tools you need for proper toenail care. You need good clippers that are the right size for your nails. If your clippers have gotten dull and difficult to use, you may need to replace them. You’ll also need a good nail file to round out the corners of your toenails after trimming.
When you take good care of your toenails, you lower your risk for ingrown toenails, broken nails, toe deformities, toenail fungus, and other common podiatry issues.
If you have chronic conditions like diabetes, or other reasons why you could need professional support with foot care, get in touch with Dr. Greenwald for the podiatry services you need. Contact our office online or over the phone today to schedule your appointment.