Most people's toenails grow about 2 millimeters (0.08 inches) a month, so it's appropriate to cut them every six to eight weeks.
Poorly trimmed toenails can cause painful broken nails and ingrown toenails. And if you have diabetes, poorly trimmed toenails could put your overall health at serious risk. In many ways, good foot health starts with proper toenail trimming techniques.
When they get too long, there's more potential for problems. Keep your toenails short, trim them straight across, and then use a file to slightly round out the corners. This helps prevent ingrown toenails and infections.
Both fingernails and toenails thicken as we get older. We only notice it with toenails because they're usually not filed and buffed as often as fingernails. The growth rate of nails decreases when people get older. This results in thickening because nail cells pile up.
This overgrowth is called subungual hyperkeratosis. People with hyperkeratosis may notice a white, chalky substance under the nail. When this occurs in the toenails, the pressure of shoes pushing down on the nails might cause pain.
Nail fungus causes your toenail to become whitish or yellow-brown. Over time, debris builds up beneath the nail, causing it to darken. Nails can grow brittle, crumbly, or ragged. Toenails are an ideal environment for fungal infections because they are moist and warm.
The nails change with aging, growing more slowly, and becoming dull and brittle. The color may change from translucent to yellowed and opaque. Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick and ingrown toenails may be more common.
A healthy toenail is a shade of pale pink, much like your fingernail. Any yellowing or tinges of black color means something is not right. For example, if your toenails become yellow, you probably have a fungal infection. Yellowing can also be the result of smoking or a side effect of diabetes or a liver condition.
It can also leave your toenail susceptible to infection — plus, it hurts! Cut nails when they're dry, not wet. Wet nails may be likely to tear, bend, or not cut smoothly because they're softer when wet. Cutting dry nails will give you a cleaner, smoother cut.
Care for your toenails.
Trim toenails keeping the edges aligned with the tips of the toes. Because nails become more brittle as we age, they're typically easier to trim after a foot soak. Be sure to cut toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails.
"Polish lasts longer on toes than fingers because we use our hands as tools and they're in water much more often than toes," beauty ambassador Sarah Bland explained to Bustle. Just think of all the things your fingers get done, while your toes sit snugly inside their little shoe house.
In Japanese folklore, bad spirits are only around at night, so that is why you should not cut fingernails at night.
It's important to make sure that you cut your toenails straight across, leaving them long enough so that the corners lie loosely against the skin at the sides. In other words, don't trim your toenails too short, don't round the edges, and also don't try to cut the toenails into a pointy V-shape.
"If you don't cut your nails, they're just going to continue to grow," says Dr. James Christina, executive director and CEO of the American Podiatric Medical Association. "It's just like the hair on your head."
Your toenails tell a lot about your overall health. A fungal infection often causes thickened yellow toenails. Thick, yellow nails also can be a sign of an underlying disease, including lymphedema (swelling related to the lymphatic system), lung problems, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
What to Look For in Diabetic Toenails. The first toenail change you'll notice in diabetic patients is likely to be discoloration. Most have some yellowing of the nails, though the shade and involvement can vary. Discoloring may start at the distal edge (tip), and run all the way to the root of the nail bed.
“Applying Vicks VapoRub to fungus-infected toenails can clear up the notoriously hard-to-treat condition. Michigan State University clinicians found that applying the product daily to the infected nail cleared the condition in 32 of 85 patients, though it took anywhere from 5 to 16 months…”
Similarly, in children, there is a stronger element of growth happening.” In elderly people, the growth rate of the nail slows down relative to the adhesion strength, creating a condition called pincer nail where the nail plate forms a tight curl.
If you have had an injury to your toe and your nail is temporarily thick, it may get better over time. As a new, healthy nail grows out, you can see if it gets better. However, due to the slow growth of toenails, this can take many months.
People with diabetes are more likely than those without diabetes to get a fungal infection called onychomycosis. This infection usually affects the toenails. The nails will turn yellow and become brittle.
Toenails that grow thicker over time likely indicate a fungal infection, also known as onychomycosis. Left untreated, thick toenails can become painful. Prompt treatment can be key to curing the nail fungus. Fungal infections might be difficult to cure and may require months of treatment.
Yellow nails can indicate a problem with your liver or kidney, diabetes mellitus, fungal infections, or psoriasis, which need to be treated by a doctor. If you develop yellow nails along with swelling or respiratory problems, see a doctor.