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Are You Cutting Your Toenails Correctly?

Cutting your toenails correctly is a vital part of maintaining good foot health. Incorrect technique can lead to ingrown toenails, causing pain and potentially infection. It could also lead to the spread of fungus.

To start you need to make sure you are using the right tool. A good set of nail clippers should be used. Scissors and knives aren’t appropriate and should be avoided. Ideally you should use different clippers for the nails on your feet and those on your hands. This will reduce the chance of transferring fungus or bacteria from your hands and feet. It's also important to clean your clippers thoroughly between each use.

The next phase involves determining how often to trim your toenails. Typically, toenails grow at a rate of approximately 2 millimetres (0.08 inches) per month, so it's recommended to trim them every six to eight weeks. However, if you lead an active lifestyle or engage in sports, particularly running, you may find it more comfortable to trim them more frequently. Some people may choose to cut their toenails weekly. This is fine so long as the correct technique is used and you avoid cutting them too short. Leaving your toenails too long increases the chances of them getting caught on something. This can be quite painful and could even tear the nail. On the other hand cutting them too short can increase the risk of developing ingrown toenails.

You can cut your toenails both wet and dry. If you have thicker toenails you may find it easier to cut them after a bath or shower. That being said if you don’t have thicker nails it may be better to cut them whilst dry. When dry, toenails are less likely to tear or bend. This leads to a cleaner cut but either way is fine.

In order to prevent the discomfort of ingrown toenails, it's important to trim your toenails in a straight-across fashion. For many individuals, achieving this involves a two-step approach: the initial cut with clippers positioned slightly to the side of the nail to establish a straight edge, followed by a second cut to remove the remaining nail following the line of the straight cut. Many people will forget to fill their nails after but this is still an important step. Filing your nail will remove any sharp edges that could potentially snag and tear the nail.

Toe nails may be thick for a number of reasons. Fungal infections can make your nails thicker. Psoriasis, a kind condition that causes rapid cell growth on the skin's surface, can also cause thick toenails. Tight fitting shoes may also be the answer. Should you have thicker nails make sure to soak your feet in warm water. This should be for a minimum of 10 minutes. The soak will soften the nail making trimming them considerably easier. You should also use smaller cuts to avoid splintering the nail. As with any thickness of nail, make sure to cut straight across, don’t round off the corner and file the nail afterwards. If the nail is still too painful to cut you may wish to seek help from a professional or doctor.

Whilst it might seem a simple task, many people neglect cutting their toenails. Make sure you cut them regularly, using the correct tools that are thoroughly cleaned between uses. Ensure to cut straight across and avoid rounding off any corners. Finally, should you have thicker nails, soak your feet in warm water first and seek help should you still find cutting your nails painful.


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