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How to care for your toenails

photo of beautiful well-groomed female feet with the French pedicure

How to care for your toenails

Posted by Johns Creek Dermatology in Preventive Healthcare 31 Aug 2017

Tips for Caring for Your Toenails

Toenails may not seem like a glamorous topic to discuss. However, your nails actually play an important role in your appearance and health. Many people from South Forsyth, Gwinnett, North Fulton counties and areas surrounding North Atlanta come to see Shereen Timani, M.D. and the staff at Johns Creek Dermatology in Johns Creek because they have questions about their toenails. We have many options and treatments that can address this part of the body. In addition, we’d like to share some simple tips for everyday nail care you can do at home. Having the right tools and using some basic steps can help you to be confident about your toes. We’d also like to remind everyone about the importance of wearing sandals whenever they use public showers to avoid infections.

Getting the Right Tools

Using clean, precise clippers is important. Trying to use old clippers could put you at risk for infection. In addition, dull clippers could cause you to have to make multiple cuts and leave you with a jagged finish on your toenails. Never share clippers with other people. You should start each grooming session by disinfecting your clippers with rubbing alcohol. It’s also a good idea to swab the clippers with rubbing alcohol once you’re done. Being hygienic is especially important if you have any type of medical condition that makes you vulnerable to skin infections.

Trimming Your Toenails

Proper nail care doesn’t actually start and end with clippers. You can get the best results by preparing your toenails prior to clipping them. In fact, you may even find that pampering your toes becomes a practice that you enjoy. Make a point to soak your toes for between 10 and 15 minutes in warm water full of high-quality, non-irritating soap. This will help to clean your nails and soften them in preparation for cutting.

Some people like to push back the cuticles on their toenails. However, you’ll want to use caution when doing this because cuticles actually protect the nail from certain types of bacteria and infections. You really only need to address cuticles that are hanging over the margins on your toenails. Avoid any trimming that goes beyond the margin of your toenail or that draws blood.

How do you trim your toenails? The best way is to go straight across the nail instead of trying to follow a curved pattern. This method is actually more effective for preventing ingrown nails. Your nail will be able to regrow as one unit if you do it this way. Cutting toenails in a curved pattern could cause the edges to grow into the skin.

How short should you go? Avoid the mistake of cutting your nails too short. You can always cut your nails more frequently if you’re worried about them appearing too long when you wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Cutting the nail too short can cause you to experience an ingrown toenail. In addition, you risk infection if the skin beneath the nail is exposed. Of course, you also don’t want to leave the nail long enough to hang over the toe. Use an emery board to gently go over the edge of your toenails when you’re done clipping. You may want to finish by applying lotion or cream to your toes.

Don’t Ignore Problems

While basic toenail care can be done at home; there are times when simple grooming won’t be enough. It’s important to get any signs of fungal growth, infections or irritation looked at by a medical professional. You may be putting yourself at risk for long-term issues if you simply ignore visible marks, pain or odors. In addition, you could potentially spread harmful bacteria to the people you live with or interact with.

Are Your Toenails Causing You Concern?

The tips above can help you to care for your nails on a regular basis. However, you may have specific questions regarding issues you’re experiencing or your methods for grooming your toenails. Shereen Timani, M.D. and the friendly staff at Johns Creek Dermatology are here to answer all your questions and help you address any toenail-related issue you’re experiencing. Our office serves clients from Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Duluth, Dawsonville, Cumming and other nearby areas in Georgia.

The advice contained within this article is intended to be shared as general information only. It should not be considered medical advice or viewed as a replacement for seeking the care of a medical professional. If you have questions or are experiencing a medical issue, make an appointment with a medical professional to have the issue examined as soon as possible.

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