Cutting your toenails is an important part of grooming and health. Overgrown toenails are not only unattractive but can cause health problems as well. A long toenail may harbor fungus and bacteria that can cause infection and odor. As well, a long toenail may break more easily or become ingrown, potentially damaging the skin and causing other health issues. The smallest toenail on your foot, commonly called the “pinky,” should never be forgotten. Trimming it periodically is both quick and easy.

Abstain from soaking your feet before cutting your toenails. Many people prefer to cut their nails after a hot bath or shower since the warm water causes the nails to soften, making cutting easier. This softness actually causes the nail to tear or bend. Since the pinky toe is the thinnest of all the toenails, it is even more susceptible to damage. Instead, cut your toenails when they are dry, allowing a smooth, clean cut.

Use appropriate toenail clipping materials. A large toenail clipper may work great for your big toenail, but when it comes to your pinky toe, it may do more damage than good. Use a nail clipper that is similar in size to your nail. This will ensure a clean cut that uses the entire blade of the clipper, not just a corner of it. Also, it does not hurt to clean your clippers after each use.

Cut in a straight line. Many people tend to trim a curved design into their toenails, following the shape of the end of their toe. This can cause ingrown toenails as the edges of the nails dig into the sides, and should be avoided.

Leave a bit of edge to the toenail. Cutting too close to the nail can also cause an ingrown nail. Make sure that a small bit of the white portion of your toenail remains after a trim. This will prevent any pain and discomfort that can result from cutting too close.