I see a lot of clients that have cut their toenails horizontally (especially men) on both sides making a point. It is so important that toenails are cut properly. The proper technique is necessary to avoid an ingrown toenail or infection.Cutting toenails

Cutting your toenails:

  • Cut straight across. The nails shouldn’t be cut in a curved shape or in a point.
  • Use appropriate toenail clippers or scissors. (The larger clippers are meant for larger nails and will be easier to cut toenails with than fingernail clippers)
  • Keep clippers and any other tools you use on your toes disinfected (cleaning them with rubbing alcohol before and after using them will do the trick).
  • Don’t cut nails too short, as it’s another reason ingrown toenails occur. It can also leave your toenail susceptible to infection.
  • Cut nails when they’re dry, not wet. Wet nails may be likely to tear, bend or not cut smoothly because they’re softer when wet. Cutting dry nails will give you a cleaner, smoother cut.
  • Make a few small cuts. Don’t try to clip each toenail in one go. Make a few small cuts across your nail.
  • If you prefer to file your toenails or just to smooth them out after you clip them,
    don’t drag the file or emery board back and forth. Gently move the nail file in one direction across the top of your toenail until smooth and the appropriate length.
  • Don’t cut cuticles. If you want to tame cuticles on your toenails, use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick to push them back.
  • Cutting cuticles can cause bleeding or infection. Pushing them back gives feet a neat look without unnecessary damage.

In grown toenails:

An ingrown toenail develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which becomes red, swollen and tender.Ingrown toenail

The big toe is often affected, either on one or both sides. Other possible symptoms include:

  • pain if pressure is placed on the toe
  • inflammation of the skin at the end of the toe
  • a build-up of fluid in the area surrounding the toe
  • an overgrowth of skin around the affected toe
  • bleeding
  • white or yellow pus coming from the affected area

Causes of ingrown toenails:

A number of things can cause an ingrown toenail to develop, including:

  • badly cut toenails  – cutting your toenails too short, or cutting the edges, will encourage the skin to fold over your nail and the nail to grow into the skin
  • wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights  – this places pressure on the skin around your toenail; the skin may be pierced if it’s pressed on to your toenail
  • sweaty feet  – if the skin around your toenails is soft, it’s easier for your nail to pierce it and embed itself within it
  • injury  – for example, stubbing your toe can sometimes cause an ingrown toenail to develop
  • natural shape of the nail  – the sides of curved or fan-shaped toenails are more likely to press into the skin surrounding the nail

Treating ingrown toenails:

Without treatment, an ingrown toenail can become infected, so it’s important that you:

  • keep your feet clean by washing them regularly with soap and water
  • change your socks regularly
  • cut your toenails straight across to stop them digging into the surrounding skin
  • gently push the skin away from the nail using a cotton bud (this may be easier after using a small amount of olive oil to soften the skin)
  • wear comfortable shoes that fit properly


See your GP or podiatrist (foot care specialist) if your ingrown toenail is badly inflamed, bleeding or has pus coming from it, because it may be infected.

If you’d like to find out more about this why not pick up the phone to me and call me on 01603 514195 or fill in my contact form.

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