Shorten toenails: Do not cut toenails round

Ingrown nails cause problems

Wearing shoes becomes a torture, every step and every touch causes pain: An ingrown toenail is no joke. A common cause of how this happens is improper technique when trimming.

If you remove too much of the nail with scissors, clippers or a file and let it run round or pointed on the sides, you risk that the nail that grows back will push into the surrounding skin and injure it. If germs get into the wound, the nail bed can become inflamed.

Straight and not too short. The illustration on the left shows how the nail should be cut optimally: The corners of the nail remain on the sides, the nail ends at the tip of the toe at the front. © Stiftung Warentest / Nina Mascher

Correct cutting technique prevents

Ingrown nails can be prevented with the right technique: It is particularly important to shorten the nails as straight as possible or in a line that is only slightly curved and leave the corners intact. They should lie freely on the lateral skin edge of the toe, but have no points or sharp edges. Overall, the nail should then have a fine white edge and end with the tip of the toe.

Tip: If you have very strong toenails that are difficult to cut, you can take a warm foot bath beforehand. Water and heat will swell the nail slightly and make it softer. Then shorten each nail with several small cuts and finally smooth it carefully with a file.

By the way: If you want to do more for your feet and prevent malpositions, you should walk barefoot regularly. If you need to treat athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, there are many effective over-the-counter remedies available.

If in doubt, go to a podiatrist or doctor

If a nail has already grown in, warm foot baths and disinfecting ointments can help. If you want to be sure that the nail bed does not become inflamed further, you should make an appointment for medical foot care. Podiatrists can assess whether other tools, such as nail braces or plastic splints, are needed to grow the nail out of the inflamed area.

In the case of severe pain and purulent inflammation, a doctor should be consulted. In the worst case, the inflamed tissue and the ingrown nail must be partially or even completely removed – an unpleasant procedure and the healing process takes time.

Tip: If you suffer from diabetes, you should give your feet special attention and care, and if you have nail problems, go to a pedicurist or see a doctor as soon as possible.


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