Toenail Care


Why Is Toenail Care So Difficult?

Although many people follow good toenail care practices, many do not. In fact it might be safe to say that a majority of people do not. Toenail care should really be no more difficult than caring for one's fingernails. The fact is, toenails grow at a significantly lower rate than to fingernails, some say half the rate, so in one sense toenail care should only be half as difficult.

There are a couple of things than make toenail care difficult. One is, that we don't see our toenails all that often. We're either asleep during the night time, or are wearing shoes and socks during the day, keeping the toenails conveniently hidden from view. The other consideration is that our toenails are farther from our brain than any other part of the body, so it is a kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation. Toenail care can get to be a little painful with advanced age as our muscles become stiffer and less flexible. Remaining in one position, be it standing or sitting, while attending to the toes can at best become quite uncomfortable, something that never concerned us much at a younger age.  Also, Americans are tending to grow more obese as the years go by, which puts the toenails just a bit further out of reach, if one can find them at all. In other words, toenail care is difficult because we always can find other, more important things to do, or if we do decide on a nail trim, the fingernails are much closer and more convenient to deal with.

Trimming The Toenails - Toenail care is really quite basic however. Although sometimes a nuisance, toenail trimming is still required periodically. One of the keys to healthy toenails is to keep them trimmed short. By doing so, they are not only more attractive, especially when wearing open-toed shoes or sandals, but also are less susceptible to two major toenail problems, toenail fungus and ingrown toenails. Keep them short and you may never need to be concerned with either. Another good practice is when trimming the toenails is to trim them straight across. A toenail should not be trimmed to a curved edge like a fingernail. If trimmed to a curved edge, a toenail will tend to grow at the sides in towards the skin and an ingrown toenail could be the result. Ingrown toenails can be very painful and sometimes surgery is required to correct the condition.

Cleanliness Counts - Keeping the feet clean and dry is another necessity. Feet that are wet, dirty, or both, can encourage the growth of fungus or bacteria under the nails, besides leading to other foot problems. Our feet tend to stay cleaner than our hands, so you don't need to wash them several times a day. Once a day or once every other day will suffice and taking a bath or shower counts. Remember to wear clean and dry socks and shoes. Change socks regularly and, when possible, alternate between pairs of shoes instead of wearing the same pair day after day. Removing your shoes and walking around in socks or slippers after work is a good practice too, helping your feet air out and dry out, in addition to  just feeling good.

Treating Toenail Fungus - If you should encounter a problem with toenail fungus you're not alone. About one in every fifteen Americans shares your problem. A surprising number, perhaps a majority of those people, don't do anything about it, or would like to but don't know what to do. Toenail fungus has a reputation for being difficult to get rid of, but this isn't necessarily the case. There are a variety of over the counter topical cremes and lotions which work very well, a number of home remedies that sometimes do, and one can even get an oral medication to treat the fungus, though oral medications may require a prescription in some instances. There definitely are treatments available, so don't let the distance between your brain and your toes become a hindrance.