Six Tips for Healthy Toenails

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Whether you like your feet or wish you had another set, they do a lot of work for you. So showing them some love is important - for your comfort and your health. Happy feet start with well-maintained toenails.

Gaynal Hofmeister, Registered Nurse and Diabetes Educator with Aspirus Riverview Diabetes & Nutrition Center, shares the following tips for healthy toenails.

1. Cut your toenails
Cut your toenails straight across, but not to the point where they dig in at the sides of your nailbed. Then use an emery board to file them smooth. The best time to cut your toenails is after a shower or bath, when they are soft. Use nail clippers and cut in small sections across the nail rather than trying to cut the entire nail at once.

2Keep your cuticles healthy
To maintain healthy cuticles, use a cuticle stick or an orange stick to gently push them up and out of the way of the nailbed. Don’t cut your cuticles, as they can bleed and become infected. Their purpose is to protect new nail growth from bacteria, so you need them.

3. Let them breathe fresh air
Expose your feet to fresh air wherever possible to keep them dry and prevent fungus from growing in small unseen places. Take your shoes off when you’re not walking around to let your feet breathe.

4. Expose them to sunshine
UV rays have germicidal properties, which means they kill bacteria. So when possible, expose your feet to sunshine.

5. Take breaks from nail polish
Your nails are always growing and need airflow to remain healthy. The color and chemicals in nail polish cause slight discoloration, so your nails may end up looking a little yellow. They will recover if you avoid polish or at least give them a few days’ break between pedicures. When you do wear nail polish, be sure to remove all the old polish first.

6. Select socks and shoes carefully
Wear socks that are naturally moisture wicking, which means they draw moisture away from the skin. This will discourage fungus from growing. The best fibers are wool and bamboo. Cotton socks, even though they are comfortable, can retain moisture and promote fungus growth.

Wearing proper fitting shoes will maintain good nail health too. Shoes that restrict your toenails will cause friction and rubbing, which can lead to ingrown toenails, encourage fungus, and cause nailbed damage.

Aspirus Can Help Care for Your Toenails
“If you are unable to care for your own toenails, the team at Aspirus Riverview
Diabetes & Nutrition Center can do it for you,” says Hofmeister. “Our toenail services are open to anyone – not just people with diabetes.” The cost is $25, and appointments may be scheduled by calling 715-421-7566. Aspirus Riverview Diabetes & Nutrition Center is located on the 2nd floor of Aspirus Riverview Hospital, 410 Dewey Street, Wisconsin Rapids.