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Nailed it! (How do you cut your toenails?)

Nailed it! (How do you cut your toenails?)


How do you cut your toenails?

The ongoing debate! “But aren’t you supposed to cut your toenails straight across? Won’t you get an ingrowing toenail? What about the edges?”


Hey guys, today I want to cover the very controversial topic: “What’s the correct way to cut your toenail”.

The short & simple answer is ...  follow.the.anatomy.

It is often a case by case technique. Nail care depends on the nail shape and related symptoms, if any. Usually cutting your nails straight can cause some issues with sharp edges, which then becomes a problem.

The correct technique is to follow the shape of your nail. Basically, you follow the hyponychium. (The hyponychium is a bed of soft tissue that lies just under the free portion of the nail at the end of the toe). It is oval shaped, consequently making your cutting of the nail oval shaped. Don't try to cut the nail off in one piece, cut it in sections. Start from the middle and move to the edge and do the same for the other side. Use a file after cutting your nails to smooth the edges.


How to cut your toenails

Image from NAILPRO

If, you have nails whereby the corners involute (turn inwards on the nail fold otherwise know as pincer nails) or you are prone to ingrowing nails, THEN you can cut the edges. Now, the way to prevent an ingrowing toenail is to ensure you cut the whole section of nail off. If you leave a little slither in the corner, it will grow into the skin. Also, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE do you pick or pull the nail off. This is the problem most people get caught by; they cut the little edge of the corner and then pull it all the way back down the perionychium and BAM... you've broken the skin. Uh-oh! Inflammation sets in. {Sometimes infection} It hurts and the only way to recover from this is to correctly care for the area until the nail grows back and the skin heals. My advice would be to get a professional to attend to it. As Podiatrists, we treat nails all day long and have very specific instruments and techniques which we use to make the process as pain-less as possible. 

Follow the natural shape of your toenail and you should not have any issues. If you're unsure, visit your Podiatrist and they go over correct nail cutting techniques with you.


How short do you cut your toenails?


Again, this can be a very personal decision. However, don’t cut your nails too short as it can start to cause receding of the hyponychium and expose it to trauma as well as infection.

When you cut your nails, start with less and then take more if you need because you can’t put it back on once you’ve cut it off. haha. You will just have to wait for it to grow but in the interim it can be quite tender. I always leave about 1mm of free nail.

If you are highly active and you suffer with nail loss, bruising, splitting, cracking etc; make sure you cut your nails regularly (weekly or fortnightly depending on growth) and keep them short. The constant trauma from your footwear and the mechanical forces causes a lot of damage to the toenails. Also make sure your shoes and socks aren't too tight.

Post nail cutting use PC Podiatrist Formula® Nail Oil.


Any questions? feel free to email me:


 #nailcare #cuttingnails #podiatrist #nailspecialist #nailoil


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