Free Resource:
To Request an appointment with Dr. Schneider:

Houston podiatrist discusses care of your toenailsWe all have toenails. Some are shaped and pretty. Others are thickened and jagged. Some like them left longer. Others like them cut very short. A lot of what we do with our toenails are personal preference. There is however, some aspects of toenail care that should be followed and not left to your whim. My name is Dr. Andrew Schneider, and I'm a #podiatrist in Houston, Texas in my practice. I see all sorts of problems that the toenails, cause it's not usually the toenails fault, though. It usually is a "user error" situation where people think they know what's best for their toenails.

Proper foot health includes caring for your toenails properly. I often get asked in my Houston podiatry office to demonstrate to my patients the proper way to trim their toenails. I'm always happy to oblige. Sometimes it's a parent asking for the demonstration for their child, only to realize they've been wrong this whole time. Generally speaking, your toenails should be cut straight across. Not too long, not too short, but within those parameters is some leeway for your personal preference. Don't feel like you need to cut all the way across at once. Use two or three small cuts. And that works just fine. 

Now with any good rule comes some exceptions. Some people's nails grow curved. They may always have been this way. And in some cases, the nails become more curved with time. In this case, if you cut your nails straight across, it leaves behind a sharp corner that can dig into the toe. In these cases, after you trim your toenails straight across, you should round off the corners. This can be done by clipping the corners. A preferable and safer way is to use a nail file or Emery board to file the corners of the toenail. 

When you trim your toenails, you want to avoid a few different things. First, don't rip, tear, or bite your toenails. Aside from it being less hygienic and pretty gross. You don't have the control of trimming the nail properly. You end up with a jagged toenail that follows its own path. You run the risk of the nail being too short, too jagged, or just pushing in on the corners. You also so risk leaving a spicule of nail in the toe, which can potentially become infected. 

When you trim your toenails, be careful to only use your own clean instruments. Dirty nail clippers can harbor bacteria, and that can lead to an infection if you accidentally nick your toe. Be careful not to clip your toenails too short. You also should avoid trimming too much on the sides of the toenails. I know that you think you're doing this to avoid ingrown toenails, but it can have the opposite effect. In fact, you should be careful not to let your toenails get too long. 

On average, most people should trim their toenails once every six to eight weeks. Everyone's nails grow at different rates. So you have to see what interval works best for you. You also should not cut or push back your cuticles. The cuticles are a means of protecting the toenail from bacteria. Well, you might like how they look cutting them can increase the risk of infection. 

Some of you are thinking that you don't even cut your own toenails. You've got a regular pedicure and that's all well and good, but I have some suggestions for you. First of all, you want your pedicurist to follow the same rules that I spoke about. This includes not cutting your nails too short, filing rough parts of the nail, not trimming the edges deep into the toe, and not cutting or pushing back the cuticles. 

Adding to that, you should be mindful of where you're going for a #pedicure. Take a look around. Are the stations clean? Are instruments lying around? How do they clean their instruments? Do their technicians wash their hands between clients? These are all questions that should have simple and straightforward answers. 

When it comes to nail polish choose brands that have fewer harsh chemicals. Many nail polishes contain formaldehyde and toluene, and they're very damaging to the toenails. You also want to avoid shellac. It does last a long time, but it seals off the nail causing it to weaken and become damaged. 

Speaking of toenail damage, avoid putting acrylic nails on your toes. Acrylics are not flexible and can dig into the toe. This can cause an ingrown toenail. It can become very painful and infected. A better choice is using #Keryflex. This is a keratin based nail replacement. It's flexible and porous, so it won't hurt you or damage the nail it's applied to any further. I'll discuss Keryflex in detail in a future video.