Trimming your toenails may not seem like it needs much explanation—after all, it’s a personal hygiene habit you’ve been doing for many years. However, certain populations, including people with diabetes and individuals prone to ingrown toenails, must take special precautions with their foot care to avoid injury and infection. Here are a few practices you can follow to reduce the risk of encountering issues.

How to Trim Your Toenails

1. Use the Right Tools

When trimming your toenails, only use clippers or scissors designed for cutting nails. Designate a pair of clippers specifically for your toes; these are larger and aren’t rounded so they can more effectively trim thicker nails. Plus, you’ll reduce the risk of spreading any microbes between your feet and hands.

2. Trim While Dry

Most people remember to trim around shower time, but it’s wiser to clip your nails before washing up. Dry nails remain rigid, making them less likely to bend more conducive to a clean cut.

3. Maintain an Appropriate Length

foot careThe perfect nail length is a tricky matter when it comes to foot care. Don’t keep them too long because they could rub against your footwear and leave you prone to ingrown toenails. However, they could bleed if you cut them too short, potentially leaving you vulnerable to infection. For an ideal length, aim to have the top edges of the nail sitting loosely against the skin on either side.

4. Cut Straight Across, Then File

When trimming, cut the nail in a straight line to prevent ingrown toenails. You may need to make two passes, especially for the big toe. After cutting, gently file the nail with an emery board to prevent uneven areas that could snag on socks, carpets, or sheets.

5. Repeat Regularly

Toenails grow half as quickly as fingernails, at a rate of roughly 1.6 mm each month, so you may be most comfortable trimming them monthly. If you are an athlete, spend a lot of time on your feet, or are prone to ingrown toenails, consider trimming them more frequently to keep them short.


If you’re experiencing issues with your toenails or feet, turn to Foot & Ankle Specialists in Blue Ash, OH. These podiatrists offer a broad range of foot care services for everyone, including athletes and people with diabetes. See their full list of services, including treatment for ingrown and fungal toenails, online. Call (513) 769-4408 to schedule an appointment.