Your toenails provide an overall picture of your health, which is why it’s important to care for them properly. Good health and hygiene practices will go a long way toward ensuring your toenails look nice and are strong enough to provide adequate protection for your toes. These tips can help keep your toenails strong and healthy!
Washing and Drying
It’s important to keep your toenails clean by washing your feet thoroughly each day. Dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes to prevent fungus from forming on your toenails. If you have rough cuticles, push them back gently with an orange stick while your toes are still slightly damp. Never trim cuticles with nail clippers or other sharp objects.
Cutting your toenails properly will help you avoid things such as ingrown toenails and/or infection. When cutting your toenails, you should:
- Trim them straight across, ensuring they do not curve inward on the sides
- Make more than one cut across each toenail to ensure the top is even
- Avoid cutting toenails too short – Ideally you want them to be around the same length as your toe
- Use the right tools – Fingernail clippers and scissors are not suitable for trimming toenails
- Cut nails when they are dry, as wet toenails are more likely to tear or break
After cutting your toenails, you may file them lightly with an emery board if they appear jagged. Be careful not to file them too harshly, as you could actually damage the toenail instead.
Caring for Damaged Toenails
If your toenails become loose or torn, you should take immediate measures to reduce your discomfort. If possible, trim off the damaged section of nail to make it easier for your new toenail to grow back normally. Wrap your damaged toenail with gauze or an adhesive bandage to provide protection and relief from irritation. If it appears your toenail is infected, use an antibiotic cream on it prior to wrapping.
When to see a Podiatrist
If you notice any of these conditions, you should visit a podiatrist rather than attempting to treat the condition yourself:
- Ingrown toenail
- Toenail fungus, which is characterized by a black or discolored nail bed and peeling or flaking
- Detached toenails
- Toenails that are torn mostly or completely off the nail bed
Most people don’t realize about how important their toenails are until they experience a problem. By taking proper care of your toenails now, you can avoid a serious problem that might make performing routine tasks such as putting on shoes difficult or painful.