Taking proper care of your toenails is essential for good foot health and overall foot comfort. Every day, your feet take a great deal of abuse while going about your various activities. Even a minor toe injury can cause discomfort and potentially affect other parts of your body. Keeping your toenails correctly trimmed as well as properly shaped is extremely important. Using the right tools and techniques makes ongoing care and maintenance of your toenails much easier to do.
What is the best length for your toenails to be trimmed? The best toenail length is actually perfectly even with the tip of the toe. If the nails are any longer than that, they can potentially rub against the front of your footwear. When this rubbing is repeated countless times over the course of the average day, it can result in soreness and/or swelling of the toes and even detachment of the toenails.
By comparison, trimming your toenails too short can also lead to potential problems. If the toenails are trimmed too short, you are running the risk of cutting the skin underneath the nails, resulting in a great deal of pain.
What shape should your toenails take? Toenails should be cut straight across. The majority of people are used to cutting and filing their fingernails using the natural curves of their fingers. Hence, it is not surprising that people would follow the same sort of strategy with their toenails. However, rounding the corners of toenails, especially the big toes, can lead to problems.
When trimmed nails begin to grow out, their corners can cut into the soft skin surrounding the edge of the toenails. This can be painful, possibly leading to the development of ingrown toenails and infections.
Toenail Edge Care
What about the edges? Smoothing out the free edges of the toenails with a file after trimming them is an important step that should never be skipped when performing good toenail maintenance. Smooth toenail edges help you avoid catching them on socks or pantyhose, thus preventing future nail injuries.
Toenail Cuticle Care
How do you deal with cuticles? The cuticles maintain nail stability and also prevent bacteria from entering into the matrix of the nails (i.e. formative cell layers at the base of the fingernails and toenails). When removing any overgrown cuticle tissue from the nail beds, it is very important to be as gentle as possible. In this way, you will not accidentally cut or irritate the area surrounding the cuticles.
After softening the cuticles by soaking, and applying products like the Gilden Tree Hand, Nail & Cuticle Salve, carefully push them back and dry thoroughly with a washcloth and/or towel. If you happen to have cuticles stubbornly clinging to your toenails, you can gently push them back with a nail care tool known as a cuticle pusher. In addition, you can trim off any excess with a cuticle clipper. As a final toenail maintenance step, you can massage moisturizing lotion or oil into the cuticles to keep them hydrated and healthy.