Toenail Shape and Ingrown Nails — Should You Change the Way You Trim? | Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Toenail Shape and Ingrown Nails — Should You Change the Way You Trim?

Not all toenail shapes are created equal, and not all of them are good for your feet. Trimming your nails may seem like a mindless task necessary for avoiding harming yourself or someone else, but if you’re constantly falling victim to ingrown toenails, you may want to reconsider the way you’re trimming.

Here are some tips on trimming your toenails to avoid ingrown nails from the experts at Triad Foot and Ankle:

  1. Always, always, always use appropriate clippers. Yes, we’ve all experienced the urge to rip off a toenail that’s either fully attached or halfway attached. According to the podiatrists at Triad Foot and Ankle, you should always resist that urge and remove toenails using clippers designed for toenails specifically. Using inappropriate nail clippers or just ripping them off weakens your nail beds and in return makes you more prone to ingrown nails.
  2. Cut your toenail straight across and then slightly round the corners. When you trim your nail into a shape that’s too rounded at the top, your nail is more likely to grow in rather than out. By cutting straight across and slightly rounding the corners, you’re setting your toenail up for proper growth. Note: A nail file is recommended for slightly rounding those edges.
  3. Don’t trim your nails when they’re too dry. The doctors at Triad Foot and Ankle recommend trimming your toenails after showering. Why? Trimming toenails that are too dry could cause them to crack. Cracked toenails are highly prone to turning into ingrown toenails.
  4. Mind your nail length. Trimming your toenails too close to the skin not only damages that skin, but it also increases your chances of developing an ingrown—especially when it comes to your big toe. While trimming, it’s important to be mindful of how close your clippers are getting to the skin. Sure, you don’t want to leave them too long, but you also want to make sure there’s enough space between your toe and toenail to avoid crowding.

You have an ingrown toenail — what should you do now?

  • If your toenail is already ingrown, the podiatrist at Triad Foot and Ankle say you should immediately switch to wearing only comfortable shoes. Shoes that are too tight or narrow can worsen your conditions.
  • Make sure to soak your feet. Soaking your feet up to three times a day in warm water can keep your nails soft and speed up the healing process.
  • Call your local foot doctor. Since those who suffer from diabetes or poor circulation are more prone to developing ingrown toenails, you should consult a professional as soon as you realize your toenail is ingrown.

For more information on ingrown toenails, toenail shape and your overall foot health, contact Triad Foot and Ankle to make an appointment with an expert.

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