If you like to step out in open-toed footwear during the summer, then you likely want your toenails looking their best. And if you want them looking great, that means you want them to be healthy, too. The two goals go hand-in-hand!
Healthy nails look fantastic, and keeping them healthy is about more than avoiding the glaring problems that can come with a fungal nail infection. Keeping away from that is a big step, of course, but there are additional actions you can take to help your toenails stay strong, clear, and lustrous in all seasons.
Let’s go over a few tips for toenail health. If you are currently experiencing any problems, though, from discoloration to brittleness to ingrowing, do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be happy to help!
If you enjoy the bold, colorful accents or complementary hues of nail polish, that’s usually fine! Just don’t wear nail polish all the time.
Toenails are permeable, and can absorb many of the chemicals found in polishes. The longer you leave polish on without a break, the higher the chances your nails will look yellowed, dried out, and chalky. That’s because they’re getting drenched in polish with no chance for open air.
A better way to approach nail painting is to leave the polish on for 2-3 weeks, until it’s time for removal, and then keep your toes polish-free for an equal amount of time. This includes not putting on a clear top coat, too.
If you already have a bit of discoloration, you might be able to get rid of it by gently buffing the top layer of the nail. The deeper it goes, however, the more likely you will just have to wait for the affected nails to grow out. You might be tempted to just paint over the problem, but you’ll only be making it worse in the long run.
Toenails need moisture, too! If they are permeable enough to absorb polish chemicals, they can absorb compounds that are healthier for them, too.
Cuticle creams and vitamin E oils can work well, as can petroleum jelly. It may be helpful to experiment and see which works best for you. Whichever option you choose, gently work the moisturizer into the entire nail, including the cuticle.
Open-toed shoes and sandals give your toenails plenty of freedom, but it’s likely you’ll still have to wear closed-toe shoes regularly for work, exercise, or other events.
When in closed-toe footwear, make sure you have a roomy enough toe box to keep your toes from being packed together like sardines in a can. Not only can such pressure aid in the development of blisters, corns, and calluses, but can contribute to an increased likelihood of ingrown toenails as well.
And if you are active in your shoes, check that there is at least a half-inch of space between the end of each toe and the front of the shoe, and that your foot isn’t sliding up and down or side to side within the shoe as you move. Repetitive impacts of your toes against the front of the shoe—especially while running—can cause trauma to your nails, and even result in blackened nails.
How you trim your toenails can also have a significant impact on your risk of developing ingrown toenails, as well as nails looking jagged or even tearing.
First, make sure you have the right tool for the job. Fingernail clippers are too small, and increase the chances of an uneven trim. You also really shouldn’t be swapping trimmers between your fingernails and toenails, just in case a fungus ever does decide to invade.
Trim your toenails evenly, remaining mostly straight and leaving a sliver of white at the end that is no longer than the end of each toe. Long nails can slam against the insides of shoes as we mentioned earlier, leading to nail trauma. But cutting too short or too curved can also increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails, too. If you need to round off the corners of each nail, a file or emery board can do the trick.
If you find your nails are a bit thick and tough to clip, try doing the job after a shower when your nails are more pliable. We do not recommend doing this if your nails are naturally easy to clip, though. Making them too soft can make them more likely to tear during clipping.
Whether you’re showing off your feet or not this summer, we hope you enjoy a fun and comfortable season. If anything is getting in your way of that as far as your feet and ankles are concerned, we’re here to help.
Call our Roseburg office at (541) 673-0742 or fill out our online contact form to reach us.