Foot Care Tips: How Short Should You Cut Your Toenails?

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Jul 8, 2015 9:00:00 AM

ThinkstockPhotos-474602365-woman_trimming-toenailsThe world record for the longest toenails belongs to Compton, California resident Louise Hollis, who has managed to grow and maintain toenails that are approximately six inches long. Can you imagine trying to walk around with toenails that long or finding the right shoes to wear? Louise says that maintenance for her toenails takes a total of two days each week for filing and painting. Although proper trimming isn’t included in the maintenance of Louise’s toenails, it should be for you. Use the following foot care tips to make sure you’re keeping your toenails at a good length.

A good foot care regime is a must to keep your feet healthy. This includes the basics such as washing your feet daily, using a pumice stone for cracked heels, soaking your feet when they hurt, moisturizing your feet when they’re dry, wearing shoes that fit, and keeping your toenails properly trimmed.

You might take a DIY approach to your foot care and give yourself at-home pedicures; or maybe you enjoy a little pampering by getting a pedicure at a salon. Both cases involve trimming your toenails, whether you are doing the job yourself or you’re telling someone else how to. The length of your toenails really is an issue of personal preference.

However, there are general foot care tips to guide you when it comes to your toenail length.

First, consider the type of activities you participate in and the style of shoes you wear most often. For example, if you’re a runner, you should keep your toenails short enough so that they don’t jab into your skin or the end of your shoes as your feet experience extra pressure and impact when you’re running. If you frequently wear sandals, then you don’t want your toenails so short that they allow micro-organisms and bacteria to enter your skin, potentially leading to toenail fungus.

The Proper Way to Trim Your Toenails

Learning how to trim your toenails correctly will help protect you against ingrown toenails – which often lead to pain, discomfort and possible infection.

  • Wash your feet and dry them. This will help make your nails less brittle and easier to cut.
  • Use a proper toenail cutting tool, such as nail clippers, and make sure they are clean and sanitized.
  • Trim your nail straight across. This step is key. If you round the edges of your toenails or cut them at an angle, you risk the corners growing into your skin, which can be very painful.
  • As a best practice, cut your toenails so the edge reaches the tip of your toe.
  • Be sure to eliminate any jagged edges by filing the cut nails down with an emery board. This will help prevent any snags or tears as your nail grows.

Your toenail is there to protect your toes from the wear and tear you put on your feet each day. Following proper foot care tips to make sure your toenails are trimmed correctly will help protect you from other foot problems too, such as ingrown toenails or toenails fungus.

If you have foot pain or foot problems that you’d like to have evaluated, contact a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare for a free assessment. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.

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Topics: Foot Care, Tips from a New York Podiatrist