What Is the Best Way to Trim Your Toenails?

Some skills are learned at such a young age that we can’t remember what it was like—or think that we might be doing it “wrong.” You’ve probably never given how to brush your teeth, or use a fork, or put on pants a second thought. Of course you’re doing it right!

It might surprise you, then, to learn that there’s a right and wrong way to clip your toenails. Worse, lots of people are doing it incorrectly! You might not think it matters much, but an improperly trimmed toenail increases your risk for lots of nail, foot, and skin problems. Ingrown toenails are the most obvious, but fungal nails, bruises and cuts under the toenail, blisters, and other conditions are just some of the possible consequences of poor technique.

So what’s the right way to do it? Good news: it isn’t difficult.

  • Don’t curve the edge of the nail as you might with your fingernails. Removing the corners can cause them to dig down into the soft flesh alongside the nail. That significantly increases your ingrown nail risk.
  • Don’t trim your nails too short. This not only increases your risk of ingrown nails, but also can create tiny cuts and gaps for bacterial and fungal infections to get in.
  • Use an appropriate set of toenail clippers, rather than slender fingernail clippers. Toenail clippers tend to have a straighter edge so you don’t round the corners. They’re also larger and offer more leverage, which helps you cut more safely through thick nails.
  • Cut your nails when they’re dry—not right after you get out of the shower. Wet nails are softer, which makes them more likely to tear or bend painfully.
  • Never cut your cuticles. This can mean pain, bleeding, and infection.

Proper trimming technique should help you keep your nails and feet healthier and safer from damage and infection! For more foot care tips, browse our website and connect with us on Facebook. If you need to schedule an appointment, you can complete our online contact form or give us a call at (800) 456-8637.