How To Cut Our Nails Properly?

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How to cut our nails properly?

Poor nail cutting techniques can lead to painful and hard-to-manage nails. Therefore, it's important we know how to cut our nails properly.

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How to cut our nails properly? Unfortunately, none of us are immune to the numerous conditions that result from poorly cut nails. Ingrown toe nails are the most common problem found with cutting our nails incorrectly. This is because people who cut their nails incorrectly tend to leave small “spikes” of the nail behind which then continue to grow into our nail bed.

This can be particularly prominent in young or athletic people due to the softness and tendency of their feet becoming moist/sweaty from exercise. This can make the skin around the toenails even softer and easier for a nail to pierce.

Some of us naturally just have nails that are more curved and press into the sides of our toes. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have ingrown toe nails. The general rule for concern is that if they are red, inflamed or painful, then there will likely be an issue.

What can I do to help prevent Ingrown Nails?

  • Understand how to cut our nails properly! Straight across, making sure not to trim them too low at the edge or down the side. Leave the corner of the nail so it’s visible above the skin. Run a nail file across the sharp edges avoiding taking the nail too far down.
  • Avoid moist feet by rotating your shoes and choosing well-fitting socks and shoes made from natural materials.
  • If an ingrown toenail develops, you should apply a clean, dry dressing. Use salt water foot baths or antiseptic cream to prevent infection. A Podiatrist can treat the ingrown toenail including those that are swollen and infected. It is best to seek treatment sooner rather than later as delaying treatment can result in longer-term issues.


What can I do to help prevent Thickened Nails?

  • You may find cutting them to be difficult, so instead, try filing your toenails once or twice a week to help keep the length down. You can use an emery board or a nail file made of metal or crystal. All are easily available.
  • Avoid using home treatments, such as nail thinning products or electric machines to thin the surface of the nail, as this can lead to more damage and the nail becoming thicker and harder to manage. Seek the assistance of a Podiatrist to help reduce the thickness if you’re finding this hard to maintain on your own.


It may seem like such a easy thing to do – knowing how to cut our nails properly – and while it’s not necessarily rocket-science, it’s often the main cause of issues that we treat on a daily basis. Understanding your nail type and the best practice for cutting them shouldn’t be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.


You can use our FREE ask-an-expert service online to talk to our team of Podiatrists about any issues you are facing, here.

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