While proper foot care is important for everyone, it is especially important for diabetics. Those who suffer from diabetes are more prone to infection because they typically have decreased circulation in their extremities. Also, cuts on the feet often go unnoticed because the nerves are often damaged.
When it comes time to cut the toenails, care must be taken to avoid minor cuts and ingrown toenails. Below are some tips for performing proper toenail care for keeping a diabetic’s feet healthy.
Trim Toenails After Bathing
One way to help avoid accidental injury while cutting the toenails is to trim them only after bathing or showering. Doing so softens the ends of the nails to make it easier to make a clean, straight cut.
Toenails tend to be harder and more difficult to cut than fingernails. If a diabetic tries to cut the nails while they are dry, the person runs the risk of making an uneven cut or possibly digging into the skin surrounding the nail. Cutting softened nails helps to reduce this risk.
Cut the Toenails Straight Across
Another tip for performing proper toenail care is to make sure that each toenail is cut straight across. They should also not be cut so short that the clippers dig into the nail bed.
If the outer edges are cut at an angle, the nails may grow into the adjacent skin, increasing the risk of an ingrown toenail. Since an ingrown toenail pierces the skin, bacteria can easily grow and cause the foot to become infected.
File Down Any Rough or Sharp Edges
When cutting the nail straight across, sharp edges will form. These sharp edges will need to be dealt with to keep the nail from digging into and cutting the skin. Filing down the edges will create a smooth surface to keep skin damage from happening.
While filing the rough or sharps edges, do so lightly, and apply just enough pressure to create a smooth surface. Filing down too much of the nail could cause it to grow back with a jagged or uneven edge that may cut into surrounding skin of the toe.
For diabetics, cutting the toenails properly is essential for keeping their feet healthy. Anyone who has concerns about their feet or need to be shown proper care techniques should consult with their doctor.