Toenail-Trimming Tips for Diabetics

Toenail-Trimming Tips for Diabetics

More than 10% of Americans have diabetes, a metabolic condition that changes the way sugar from food converts into energy for your body, and it poses a range of potentially serious health complications.

Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease, nerve damage, vision changes, and more. And if you have diabetes, taking care of your feet is particularly important.

That’s because diabetes often causes poor circulation that leads to numbness in the feet. Numbness makes it less likely that you’ll notice cuts, scrapes, and blisters on your feet, and poor circulation means those wounds are less likely to heal properly.

One of the best ways to protect your foot health is by trimming your toenails regularly and properly. At Foot Care Specialists, we’re here to help. David J. Kaplan, DPM, and our team provide quality diabetic foot care, from diabetic foot exams to toenail trimming.

How to properly trim toenails

Trimming toenails is something everyone has to do. But if you have diabetes, it’s important to do it correctly to avoid potentially serious diabetic foot complications.

Start by washing your feet and drying them thoroughly, paying special attention to drying the spaces between your toes. Then use sharp toenail clippers or nail scissors to trim your toenails.

Cut your nails straight across, without rounding the corners. Make sure you cut them short enough that they don’t catch on shoes, socks, or blankets, but not so short that they become ingrown.

File your nails to smooth any rough edges, but only after your nails are completely dry, and file in one direction.

Risks of poorly trimmed toenails

Toenails that are too long, too short, or jagged pose a risk to your foot health, especially if you have diabetes. Sharp, long toenails can scratch or cut your toes and feet without your knowledge.

On the other hand, toenails that are too short increase your risk of getting ingrown nails. Ingrown nails develop when the corner of your nail grows into the skin on the side of your nail. Ingrown toenails can be very painful, and they can also get infected and create other health issues.

If you have trouble reaching your toes or you’re worried that you can’t cut your nails properly, Dr. Kaplan and our team offer professional toenail trimming for our patients. We combine nail trimming with a foot exam, so you can take a proactive approach to diabetic foot care.

The importance of regular diabetic foot exams

Even if you trim your toenails properly, it’s a good idea to have regular diabetic foot exams. Dr. Kaplan recommends comprehensive exams at least once a year to prevent and monitor any diabetic foot complications.

Diabetes may cause nerve damage and numbness in your feet, which means you could have a foot wound without knowing it. Poor circulation makes healing harder, which increases your risk of infection and slow-healing wounds.

Untreated diabetic foot wounds can eventually lead to amputation, but proactive foot care keeps your feet healthier. We examine your feet, looking for signs of wounds or foot irritation.

We can address any toenail issues, from nail fungus to ingrown nails. We also offer wound care, including bandaging, debridement, and wound monitoring. Depending on your needs, we may recommend orthotics or diabetic shoes to prevent foot irritation from getting worse.

Getting your toenails trimmed can be part of your routine foot care if you have diabetes. Dr. Kaplan and our team can trim your toenails at your annual exam or whenever you need your nails trimmed.

Confidently care for your feet with help from our team at Foot Care Specialists. Call us or request your first appointment online to get started. We have offices in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California.

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