You might think asking if you know how to cut your toenails is a ridiculous question – after all, you just cut your toenails, right? And you’re done. Surely? Well, according to the experts (that would be chiropodists and the like) most of us are getting it terribly wrong and that’s why we get ingrown toenails. And if you’ve ever had one of those, you will know the outrageous agony such a silly thing can cause. Not to mention the fact that it takes a jolly long 90 days for a destroyed toenail to grow back. So. How should we be cutting our toenails?
Well, the simple answer is: straight across. The only people allowed to have rounded toenails, according to Dr Luisa Dillner in The Guardian, are ballet dancers who have to dance en pointe (on their tippy-toes). The rest of us have to cut straight across or pay the consequences (an extremely painful ingrown toenail).
Avoid trimming toenails too short, as this can also cause the nail to grow into the skin – and after all, your nails are there for a reason (no, not so you’ve got somewhere to put your pretty nail polish): to protect your toes.
Use nail scissors or clippers to do the job properly.
If you do think you’re getting an ingrown toenail soak your affected foot in some warm water laced with Epsom Salts. Once the skin has softened, massage the area gently to relieve the swelling. Do not attempt DIY surgery by poking about with a pair of scissors! You will simply introduce more bacteria, and make the problem worse, possibly even ending up with osteomyelitis – that is, a nasty bone infection. Go to a doctor!
If your nails are curving in some way, it could be a sign of something other than nails with no sense of direction. If your nails tend to curve upwards, it could be indicative of an iron or zinc deficiency or of thyroid problems. Nails that tend to curve downwards may indicate problems with your heart or liver, or a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Either way, get yourself checked out by a doctor.
Of course, the best thing for your feet is to allow them to roam freely, like little flat animals. So whenever you have the chance, whip those Manolo Blahniks off your poor, trapped feet, and walk with your feet directly on the ground. Feel the sand between your toes!