The correct way to cut toenails

A pedicure might seem like a frivolous luxury, but as anyone who has suffered from ingrown toenails or a fungal nail infection knows, sometimes they are a necessity. Proper toenail hygiene is the most important step in preventing an occurrence of these conditions, which can be painful and debilitating.

Trimming your toenails regularly and in the correct manner is the first step.

Any good job requires the right tools. Choose quality, stainless steel instruments that will last for many years. Try to find a straight jaw clipper rather than one with the concave jaws for a more precise cut. For the best trim, you will require good toenail clippers, a curette (a cup shaped, stick-like instrument) and a nail file.

Four Steps to a Perfect Toenail Trim

  1. Start by sterilising your nail clippers with an alcohol swap or antiseptic wash.
  2. The toenail should be ‘nipped at’ with the clippers, instead of attacked with a single cut. Toenails are oval shaped and a single cut will flatten the oval, which can tear the nail plate. Cut until the edge of the nail is even with the toe.
  3. Next, use the curette to gently remove dirt and dead skin from underneath the nail and to gently push the cuticle away from the nail plate. Don’t nip the cuticle, or push it back too far as this can cause infections.
  4. Finally, use a nail file to carefully smooth the edges of nail to smooth sharp edges and remove any hooks that can lead to ingrown toenails.

In some circumstances, you might require the specialised knowledge and equipment associated with podiatry.

When Do You Need to See a Podiatrist?

A home or professional pedicure might not be adequate if:

  • you already have an ingrown toenail
  • you have involuted toenails (i.e. the nails curls into but doesn’t actually break the skin)
  • you have a medical condition, such as diabetes or haemophilia, that makes a potential nick or infection dangerous
  • if you have any other medical condition, like poor eyesight, that makes trimming your toenails difficult
  • your toenails are especially hard or thick.

A podiatrist can provide you with advice and let you know if you need an assessment. They can also alleviate the pain and discomfort that some may feel when having their toenails cut.

If you require a professional toenail trim, you can book an appointment with Paddington Physio and Podiatry Brisbane by calling (07) 3511 6352 or filling out an appointment form.

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