What is the best shape for toenails?

The best nail shape for toenails is flat across.  It’s important to avoid cutting the nails round or angled to prevent the formation of ingrown nails. Once the nails are cut flat and straight across, the ends of the nails can be filed down with an emery board so that the corners of the nails are less pointy and slightly beveled following the shape of the toe.  Avoid cutting the toe too short and make sure to use a pair of large nail nippers to maintain a clean, straight cut of the nail. Properly disinfect nail clippers and other pedicure tools before and after use.

It’s important that you cut your nails regularly so that they do not grow long. When your nails are longer there is a greater likelihood that they can become damaged due to micro trauma of the nail caused by repetitive stress of your nails hitting your shoes with every step. This may cause your nails to crack as they become thin, brittle, and discolored.  Long nails are one of the reasons why runners develop bruised toenails.  Keeping your nails long can cause bacterial and fungal infections as germs accumulate and grow under your nails.   If you suffer from thin nails I recommend taking supplements such as prenatal vitamins, biotin, or hair, skin, and nails vitamins which are over the counter.

Toenails should all have the same shape, color, and thickness. If something is abnormal in the appearance of the nails it is important to determine the reason why by going to a foot specialist. There are many reasons as to why the appearance of the nail may be altered.  Micro trauma to the nails which commonly occurs among athletes, fungal infections, and underlying systemic conditions such as psoriasis (which can lead to the formation of psoriatic nails and  closely resembles fungal nails) can all alter the normal appearance of your nails.  Once you identify the root of the problem, the appearance of your  nails can be properly addressed with home management and treatment by a medical professional which may include medication and some form of mechanical debridement of the nails depending on the cause and diagnosis of your nail issues. 

Author
Dr. Miguel Cunha Dr. Miguel Cunha, an ABPM (American Board of Podiatric Medicine) Certified Surgical Podiatrist, founder of Gotham Footcare, leading podiatrist in Manhattan and a highly trained and skilled foot and ankle surgeon with experience treating a wide array of foot and ankle conditions from minor problems to complex reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Cunha takes pride in having a genuine interest in each and every one of his patients while providing them the utmost compassion and exceptional care.

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