How to Cut Toenails and When Should Your Podiatrist Help?

Is there a right way to cut your toenails? Do it properly to avoid problems like ingrown toenails

Ray Nguyen

April 8, 2023

Proper toenail cutting is essential to avoid painful ingrown toenails that make walking difficult. In worse cases, ingrown toenails can go beyond pain and lead to infections. So, what’s the correct way to do it, and when should you call a professional for help?

The Correct Way to Cut Toenails

Before we discuss when calling for a podiatrist would be best, let’s first look at the main steps for trimming toenails properly.

Use the Right Tools

Are you using regular scissors or other cutting tools not specifically designed for nails? If yes, it’s time to invest in proper, quality nail cutting tools so you don’t inadvertently injure yourself.

You will need to purchase two nail clippers, one appropriate for your fingers and one for your toes. Unlike smaller and thinner fingernails, toenails are thicker and broader, requiring a larger clipper. Having separate tools will also help reduce the risk of passing fungus or bacteria between your hands and feet.

Always clean your clippers properly after every use.

Cut at the Right Time

Cut your toenails every six to eight weeks to keep them at a reasonable length. But if you’re an athlete or a very active person, trim them more often. If you need to trim more often, be careful since cutting them too short can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. Leaving your toenails too long will also do the same.

Remember, knowing how to cut toenails isn’t the end of it. It would be best if you also keep in mind the proper frequency to avoid painful problems in the future.

Cut When It’s Dry

Toenails tend to be more flexible when soaked, resulting in bends and tears when cutting. Avoid this and cut your nails when they’re dry, don’t do it after getting out of the shower. It ensures that you get a cleaner cut.

But if you have incredibly thick toenails, cutting them will be easier after a shower since they will be softer. Sometimes, however, you may need professional help to do it properly.

Use the Right Technique

When cutting toenails, ensure that you cut straight across with the corners lying loosely against the skin at the sides. Don’t trim too short, don’t cut your toenails into a pointy shape, and don’t round the edges. Doing any of this may lead to ingrown toenails, and nobody wants that.

File Your Nails

File your toenails after cutting to smooth down jagged edges that can snag and tear your toenails. File the nails in one direction and focus on going from corner to centre to avoid fraying the nail. Continue filing straight across until you achieve your desired shape but remember not to overdo it.

When to Call Your Podiatrist

Toenail cutting may not seem like a difficult task for most people. But for those who have difficulty moving due to medical conditions, back pain, or pregnancy, we know how bad trimming your toenails can get. Removing an ingrown toenail also requires professional expertise, especially one that has caused an infection.

Podiatrists are medical experts who specialise in the lower limbs, including caring for toenails. They are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat skin and nail problems in a safe, hygienic manner to ensure their clients can carry on with their daily tasks without worrying about their feet.

If you have any of the following nail concerns, it’s time to visit a podiatry clinic.

  • Hard, thickened toenails
  • Fungal infection on toenails
  • Discoloured nails
  • Difficult-to-reach nails

You can also visit your podiatrist if you are concerned about regular general nail care.

Other Essential Services from Your Podiatrist

Apart from ingrown or infected toenails, you can also visit your podiatrist for other concerns. You can also drop by for:

Foot Health Check-Up

Are you suffering from foot pain and don't know the cause? It might be time to have your foot checked. Book a consultation to receive a complete foot health assessment to check potential risk areas. Next, you will receive a management plan to help maintain the health of your feet.

Shoe Recommendations

Wearing the right shoes helps eliminate many foot problems, including foot pain, calluses, corns, heel pain, bunions, and the like. However, buying the wrong shoes is easy if you don't know what's suitable for your feet and your activity levels. Podiatrists can advise you on the best footwear for different situations based on your level of activity and the shape of your feet.

Talk to a Skilled Podiatrist

Do you have concerns about your toenails or your feet in general? Book a consultation with our podiatrist in Marrickville to get your condition checked. Our podiatry clinic offers comprehensive solutions to your problems, from routine treatments to biomechanical analysis. Whether you are suffering from ingrown toenails, need help cutting your toenails, or experiencing foot pain, we can help.

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