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Nail Trimming Tips with Diabetes

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

November is National Diabetes Awareness month. It’s a time for people living with any type of diabetes to stand together and support each other as you work to live a healthy and active life. Just as importantly, it’s a time to raise awareness about the disease and the impact it has on life—and how to live with it. Part of the problem is that it makes even the simplest grooming tasks, like trimming toenails, much more risky.


Toenail clipping is a basic part of foot care and pretty easy to do. When you have diabetes, though, it develops real risks that could potentially lead to ulcers or worse. Because diabetes damages your nerves, you might not even be able to feel small injuries. Just as seriously, the disease also impairs your immune system, making it much harder for those possibly-unnoticed injuries to heal on their own.


This can impact your nail trimming habits in several ways. First, you may be more likely to accidentally clip some skin along with your toenail without realizing it, potentially contributing to an ulcer. Ingrown toenails that result from clipping your nails incorrectly could open a door to dangerous infections. These high risks when you have diabetes mean you can’t overlook the little things in how you take care of your toenails.


Here are a few tips to help you trim your toenails properly and safely with diabetes:

  1. Clip softer nails – It’s easier to clip softer toenails, so do your trimming after you’ve showered and washed or briefly soaked your feet.

  2. Keep them straight – Make small cuts to go straight across the top, lining up the edge with the end of your toe. Don’t curve the sides.

  3. Don’t cut corners – Don’t clip the corners or round the edges. Keeping them straight makes it less likely they’ll grow in.

  4. Get help – If you know you have peripheral neuropathy, or trouble reaching your feet comfortably, don’t cut your nails yourself. Let experts like us do it for you.

Diabetes can make some parts of life more challenging, but you can live with healthy feet. If you or someone you care about need help managing their nail health and diabetes, let our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, know about it, and we’ll take care of it. Call (504) 708-4810 to connect with our office in Metairie, LA.


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