Caring For Your Toenails
Caring for your toenails is just as important as caring for your fingernails. Whilst they might not be as immediately visible well cared for toenails make your feet more comfortable and prevent problems such as fungal nail infections.
Caring For Your Cuticles
Some aspects of caring for your toenails are very obvious, such as cutting them properly, others are less so. The duticles on your toenails need just as much care as those on your fingernails. There is a temptation to just cut them away, this is not a good idea – better to leave them untouched. Just as you would with your fingers, apply a good cuticle cream or foot cream and when they have softened push them gently back with a properly shaped stick. Don’t push them back too hard or too far or you can cause them to tear which can lead to infections.
Cutting Your Toenails
Nails should be cut straight across using well maintained sharp clippers. The best time to clip them is when the nails are softer as they are following a bath or foot soak. If you want them to be slightly curved then you should gently round off the edges using an emery board, but always cut straight and finish with an emery board.
If you have difficulty cutting your toenails, or you have underlying foot conditions or fungal infection, it is better to have your nails cut by a Podiatrist. Incorrect cutting will cause further problems which can be very painful.
How Long Should Toenails Be?
Ideally you should leave 1-2 millimetres of nail when you clip them. Nails grow at around 2mm per month so cutting them every 4 – 8 weeks is ideal. It can be difficult to trim your toenails properly.
Using Nail Polish
If you use nail polish then make sure you clean off the old polish properly using a gently remover, preferably without acetone which can be very drying for the nails. Some nail polishes do stain toenails if they are left on for too long and cause discolouration. This is not harmful but can be a little unsightly. However you should let your toenails have a breather every now and then. Ideally leave them free of polish for at least a week every now and then. This allows the nail to breathe and recover from the chemicals in the polish.
Toenail fungus, which causes a thickening of the nails, is surprisingly common. If you have this it is best to get it treated by your Podiatrist. Whilst there are over the counter treatments, most fungal infections are bedded deeply into the nail and need to be professionally treated. Cutting nails that have a fungal infection is also not easy to do yourself and may cause further damage to the nail so is best done by a professional.
Ingrown toenails are often the result of poor trimming of your toenails. Cutting them too short is one of the most common causes and can be extremely painful. The nail can cut into the side of the nail bed causing infections which can be very dangerous for people with underlying conditions such as Diabetes.
Looking after your toenails does not take much effort but will reward you with feet that both look and feel good. If you need any further advice on caring for your feet and toenails, please contact us for more information