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  • Writer's pictureBruce Salinger

Can The Way You Clip Your Nails Give You Toenail Fungus?

Nail fungus is one of those problems that men and women don’t like to talk about. Part of the reason it’s so embarrassing is the number of misconceptions out there. Do these sound familiar?

  • Only people who don’t wash their feet get nail fungus

  • Toenail fungus runs in the family

  • There’s nothing you can do about fungal infections

  • Fungal infections mean you wear dirty shoes

  • Nail fungus is always because of something you did

All of these statements are false. Read on to discover the truth about fungal infections and find out how to avoid problems.

Can You Get a Toenail Fungus Even If You Take Good Care of Your Feet?

Yes, you can. The fungus responsible for toenail infections grows in warm, wet places, such as gym showers. These places often look completely clean.

From there, the fungus looks for a way to get underneath your toenail. This can happen with any injury or crack in the nail surface.

To avoid problems, always bring your own shower sandals for any public showers, saunas or pool areas. This includes health spas.

Can Cutting Your Toenails the Wrong Way Cause Nail Fungus?

Another way toenail fungus (or bacterial infections) can get under the nail is if you clip your toenails incorrectly. Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Cutting toenails too short

  • Picking at the edge of the nail or peeling away strips of nail

  • Cutting the nail at an angle near the borders

  • Using scissors to cut toenails

  • Forgetting to disinfect cutting tools

  • Using the same clippers that are for fingernails

  • Causing bleeding

All of these mistakes can cause breaks in the skin that give bacteria or fungi a place to grow. People who are overzealous about trimming their toenails can end up with infections.

How To Trim Your Toenails Correctly

To trim your nails the right way, make sure you have a dedicated toenail clipper. These clippers are larger than ones for fingernails, which makes it easier to cut nails cleanly. Disinfect all of your tools, then follow these steps:

  • Cut the toenail straight across: Your goal is to have a nail with a flat shape that is slightly rounded at the corners.

  • Leave sufficient nails: Healthy nails should overlap the skin of your toes. Never cut so much that you can see skin in front of the nail.

  • File the corners: Use a nail file to gently remove the point from corners. This prevents ingrown toenails.

  • Don’t trim too often: Most people should wait six to eight weeks before trimming again.

Can You Get Toenail Fungus From a Pedicure?

Foot fungus is contagious. That means that If the place you go for nail care doesn’t disinfect tools in between clients, you can catch someone else’s fungal infection. To avoid this problem, choose a trustworthy salon and insist on cleanliness, including foot baths.

Can You Cure Toenail Fungus?

Some people believe that thick, yellowed nails are something you just have to live with. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mild cases of toenail fungus may respond to over-the-counter products applied directly to the nail.

For persistent cases, visit a dermatologist. Your doctor can prescribe antifungal medication. In some cases, the infected nail is trimmed away to apply medicated creams to the skin. That way, healthy nails can grow back.


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