Tips for Tidy Toenails – The Do's and Don’ts From our Podiatrists
We see our fair share of neglected toes and toenails in our clinics, and a few over-enthusiastic trimmers too, but who are we to judge as we know more than anyone that the good old Irish summer time doesn’t often call for open toe sandals more than a few weeks a year!
But just because your toes aren’t exposed for the majority of the year, doesn’t mean that you can ignore them. Keeping up with good nail care techniques is an important part of foot care. Believe it or not, toenails play an important role in protecting our feet and even our posture!
Here’s our list of do’s and don’ts for a healthy toe nail care routine.
Do - Trim your Toenails Little and Often
Using a professional grade pair of toenail clippers is much better than smaller finger nail clippers. Toenail clippers are larger and stronger as toenails tend to be thicker and harder to cut. Cutting toenails after a bath or shower is better if you have thickened toenails, as they’ll be softer so less brittle and less likely to break unevenly.
Cut your toenails straight across, not round. Cutting around the edges of your toenails, or cutting them too short could lead to ingrown toenails which are very painful and could require surgery later down the line.
If you leave your toenails too long then you’ll definitely start to see more holes in your socks for starters, but you are also likely to feel quite a bit of discomfort when you’re wearing shoes, which could affect your gait and eventually your posture!
Don’t - Ignore a Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infections are very common in toenails particularly in patients that either wear a lot of shoes without socks, work on their feet all day, compete in a lot of sport or regularly wear shoes that lack air circulation thus allowing the feet to get hot and sweaty.
The beginnings of a fungal nail infection can be subtle and can go unnoticed, however, if it is left it will soon start to become very unsightly and more than noticeable.
Slight yellowing of toenails, thickening of nails and deeper ridges can all indicate a fungal nail infection. They are several homeopathic remedies and over the counter creams available however, it’s always advisable to see a specialist for advice and guidance.
Don’t - Paint or Fake it Too Much
Painted toe nails and pretty manicures do look great in sandals, but beware of overdoing it. Acrylic nails on toenails are not a good idea, as the techniques used with abrasive tools before applying the acrylics damages the nail and if carried out incorrectly, can even damage the nail bed too and cause infection.
Nail varnish is fine as long as a small area by the cuticle is left unpainted so that the nail can “breathe”. Varnish should be taken off with a suitable remover rather than left to flake off. If you like to change your nail colour often then try to give your nails the natural look with a break from the varnish at least one day a week for optimum help.
If your toenails ever start to become painful in any way, do get some advice from an expert as soon as you can just to be sure your twinkle toes won’t lose their sparkle.