Six Steps for Proper Toenail Care: Avoiding Discomfort and Infection

Cutting your toenails correctly is of the utmost importance in avoiding discomfort and infection caused by ingrown toenails.

When this occurs, the nail curves and penetrates into the skin, leading to inflammation, redness, and pain. To ensure proper nail care, there are six main steps one can take when cutting their toenails:

Nail clippers

It is important to use the right tool when cutting nails.

Nail clippers or manicure scissors are specifically designed for this purpose and are, therefore, the most suitable. It is best to have a separate set of clippers for the fingers and toes, as toenails are usually broader and thicker than fingernails, thus requiring a larger-sized clipper.

Furthermore, keeping each tool clean and sterile between uses is important to prevent the potential transfer of bacteria or fungus from one part of the body to another. Properly disinfecting the clippers with an alcohol-based solution can help prevent any such transmission of infection.

Cut frequency

Cutting your toenails regularly is an important part of foot care. Toenails grow at an average rate of 2 millimeters (0.08 inches) per month, so it’s best to cut them every six to eight weeks.

However, if you are an active person or athlete, especially a runner, you may want to consider cutting your toenails more frequently. Doing this will help reduce the chances of developing painful ingrown nails and other foot conditions resulting from overgrown toenails.

Additionally, if you suffer from certain foot conditions like bunions or hammertoe, keeping your toenails trimmed can be beneficial as it helps reduce pressure and friction in the affected areas.

Trimming nails when they are wet or dry

Cutting toenails is an important part of personal hygiene, as it can help prevent ingrown nails and other problems.

For best results, trimming the toenails when they are dry is recommended. This helps ensure that the edges of the nails are smoother and less likely to break or tear while cutting.

However, a shower beforehand may soften them slightly for people with particularly thick toenails, making them easier to cut. It is important to take care when cutting any type of nail, including both fingernails and toenails.

Using sharp manicure scissors or clippers will help avoid jagged edges that can often lead to discomfort or infection.

Time between cuts

Cutting your toenails is an important part of foot hygiene, and the length at which they should be maintained directly affects your risk of developing ingrown toenails. It is generally recommended that you keep your toenails trimmed to a length of approx. 1-2mm (0.04-0.08 in).

It is important not to cut them too short to avoid any potential issues, such as ingrown nails or tears in the nail.

Additionally, leaving them too long can result in them becoming trapped on objects and tearing. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you trim your nails regularly and maintain their length appropriately.

Cutting the nail

Cutting toenails properly is essential for avoiding painful ingrown toenails.

To do this, use a pair of toenail clippers to create an even line across the nail. Take two cuts, if needed: the first cut should be slightly off the side of the nail to create a straight edge, while the second cut can follow that line and trim the rest of the nail.

It’s important not to go too deep when cutting, as this can cause damage and further discomfort. Avoid cutting into the corners or sides of your nails; don’t clip too much off at once to prevent injuries.

Filing the nail

The last step in proper nail care is filing your nails with an emery board. Doing so smooths out any rough or jagged edges, which can catch on material and cause the nail to tear as it grows.

This step ensures a neat, even edge and reduces the likelihood of damage to the nail down the line. Furthermore, filing helps shape the nail into any desired form, providing a polished look and giving one greater control over their final manicure.

How to cut thick toenails

Thick toenails can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant condition, but with the proper care, they can be managed. While there are multiple causes for thickened toenails, such as fungal infection, psoriasis, injury, or tight-fitting shoes, the treatment is relatively consistent.

To treat your thick toenails:

  • For at least ten minutes, allow your feet to soak in a lukewarm bath; this helps soften the nails.
  • Once you have finished soaking your feet and drying them off thoroughly with a towel, use a nail clipper to carefully cut straight across rather than rounding off the corners to help avoid ingrown nails.
  • After cutting, use an emery board to smooth down any rough edges or corners that could snag on something else.

If your thickened toenails are causing you discomfort or pain and you don’t feel confident that you can safely cut them on your own, visit a doctor for advice and assistance.

Additionally, you can find more information on thickened toenails and proper care at Havidol regardless of how thick your nails become due to whatever cause, taking proper steps for their care will help reduce unpleasantness and keep them healthy.

How to cut toenails with fungus

Cutting toenails with a fungal infection can be quite challenging, as the thickness of the nails can make them difficult to cut with standard clippers.

To properly trim the nail, it is highly recommended that medical-grade clippers be used and that the nail be disinfected beforehand using alcohol or diluted bleach.

It is also important to soak the foot in warm water for at least 20-30 minutes before attempting to trim the nails, as this will soften them and make them easier to cut.

If you think you have a fungal infection, it is best to seek professional medical advice to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Proper treatment and regular maintenance make it possible to keep your nails fungus-free and well-trimmed.


Taking care of your toenails is important for avoiding potential health issues. Cutting them incorrectly can lead to uncomfortable and painful conditions such as ingrown toenails, cut skin, and the spread of the fungus.

Use a pair of clippers or scissors designed specifically for cutting toenails to properly trim your nails. Make sure to clip only the tips of the nails in a straight line across the top. Avoid rounding off the corners, as this can increase the risk of developing an ingrown nail.

When done with each nail, clean the tool with rubbing alcohol, soap, and water before moving on to the next one.

When dealing with thickened nails or fungus-infected areas, it is best to seek guidance from your doctor as they may need to be trimmed with special instruments or medications used. It is also beneficial to regularly moisturize your feet with lotion or oil to maintain healthy skin and keep your feet looking their best.

Additionally, wearing well-fitting shoes with plenty of room for toes can help reduce discomfort and friction on your nails while walking or running around. Taking these steps will contribute significantly towards proper foot care and keeping feet healthy.