Home Icon

Here's How to Clip Your Toenails to Prevent Infection

Jan 11, 2024
The simple act of trimming your toenails plays a crucial role in preventing infections and keeping your feet looking their best. But if you use the wrong technique, the infection risk increases. So, how should you trim your toenails?

Our expert team at Metroplex Foot and Ankle, LLP, in Dallas, Garland, and Richardson, Texas, specializes in keeping your feet and ankles as healthy as possible. From ankle sprains and bunions to warts and wound care, we can help with an individualized treatment strategy that gets you moving pain-free again.

Here’s why you should trim your toenails regularly and carefully, along with a few trimming strategies to prevent ingrown nails and other uncomfortable problems.  

Why proper toenail trimming matters

There are many reasons to trim your toenails regularly, including:

Preventing ingrown nails

One of the primary reasons to trim toenails is to prevent ingrowing. When toenails grow too long, they can curve into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and infection. Regular trimming helps maintain a proper nail shape, reducing the risk of ingrown toenails.

Preventing infections

Untrimmed toenails provide an ideal environment for fungi and other microorganisms to thrive, creating a breeding ground for infection. Keeping toenails short and dry minimizes the risk of developing conditions such as athlete's foot or fungal nail infections.

Additionally, poorly trimmed toenails can result in abrasions around the nail, creating entry points for bacteria. These openings may lead to infections that can range from mild to severe. Regular toenail maintenance is a simple yet effective way to minimize the risk of bacterial infections.

Anyone is susceptible to ingrown nails or infections from poorly trimmed nails. However, people with diabetes, poor circulation, autoimmune disorders, or other health conditions that affect their ability to heal are especially vulnerable.

How to trim toenails properly

Use these strategies when trimming your toenails:

1. Use the right clippers

Invest in a good pair of clippers specifically designed for toenail trimming. Avoid using regular scissors or clippers meant for fingernails, as they may not be strong enough to handle thicker toenails.

2. Soften your nails first

Take a shower or soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes before you trim your toenails. This softens the nails, making them easier to cut and reducing the risk of splintering.

3. Trim toenails straight across

Toenails should be trimmed straight across to prevent ingrown nails. Avoid rounding the corners since this can encourage the nail to grow into the skin. Make a couple of small cuts rather than trimming across the entire nail at once to reduce the risk of splintering.

4. Avoid cutting toenails too short

Cutting your toenails too short can also lead to problems, including ingrown toenails or pain. Trim just above the tip of the toe and avoid cutting into the surrounding skin. Trimming your nails every four to six weeks should suffice, but athletes, especially runners, may need more frequent trims.

5. Smooth the rough edges

Use a nail file to smooth any rough edges after you trim. This helps prevent snagging and splintering after a trim and reduces the risk of small tears or cuts that could lead to infection.

Your partner in optimal foot health 

Whether you’re prone to ingrown toenails and nail infections — or you’re simply interested in doing everything you can to avoid these common problems — we can help. 

For outstanding care focused on keeping your feet healthy and looking their best, call or click online today to schedule a visit at your nearest Metroplex Foot and Ankle, LLP, office in Dallas, Garland, or Richardson, Texas.