It’s more than just getting the occasional pedicure, right? What can you do at home on a regular basis to keep your toenails healthy and free from issues?
Let’s start with the basics. Trim your toenails! Did you know there’s a world record held for having the longest toenails at 6 inches long?! We don’t recommend this! In fact, we recommend trimming your toenails every 1-2 months, depending on how fast they grow. On average, toenails grow about two millimeters per month. You can choose to soak your feet before trimming them so that your nails and skin are softer, but this is optional. Cut your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails but don’t use scissors. It’s ok to trim the corners a little bit but don’t go down the sides of the nails. If you have poor circulation, use sterile instruments to avoid an infection. Never tear, rip, or pick your toenails. This causes rough and jagged edges which can damage the surrounding skin. One last thing to avoid when trimming your nails is trimming them too short, allowing skin to be higher than the nail. If your toenails are too short, they are more likely to grow into your skin. Use an emory board to file sharp edges to avoid cutting them too short.
After your toes are clean and your nails have been trimmed, apply a moisturizer such as coconut oil, petroleum jelly, or other lotion. Make sure you put on a pair of socks that aren’t tight afterwards so you avoid slipping. It’s important to check that the shoes you wear aren’t restricting your toes. You want to be able to wiggle the toes around. If your shoes are tight, this can lead to ingrown toenails and the excess friction can cause calluses.
Treat yourself! Tell yourself it’s ok to get a pedicure (from a nail salon, using sterile instruments) but not have to get your toenails painted every single time, not even clear polish. Letting your nails have a break from polish is always a good thing to do. This reduces bacteria and gives your toenails a chance to be clean and healthy.
Toenails grow slower than fingernails. They also continue to grow slower as we age, which allows cells to accumulate and causes them to be thicker. Look at your nails closely. If you notice unusual thickening or yellowing of any nail, you may need to make an appointment to see a podiatrist.
Your toenails can tell us a lot about the overall health of your feet and sometimes even your body. Keep an eye on them and reach out if you ever need our assistance!
At Howard County Foot and Ankle, we treat everything from warts and ingrown toenails to flatfeet and heel pain. Many people come to us for diabetic foot care or simply because they have foot pain or ankle pain and don’t know the cause of it. We handle emergencies such as fractures and infections as well. Dr. Bui performs a wide variety of surgeries and specializes in reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. You won’t find a better foot doctor than our highly skilled and highly qualified, Dr. Christina Bui! We would love to be your go-to Podiatrist!