How to Cut Your Child’s Toenails

Trimming toenails may seem like a simple task, but it shouldn’t be done carelessly.  Most people do not need to have their nails trimmed by a podiatrist. When trimming toenails, it is important to use proper technique to avoid creating ingrown toenails or an infection.  Ingrown toenails are nails that become lodges in the skin, instead of growing normally.  They can cause pain and may lead to serious infection.  Sometimes, nails just naturally grow into the skin, no matter what you do.

Here are some simple techniques to properly cut the nails to avoid toenail pain.

Use appropriate toenail clippers.  Larger nails need larger clippers.  This is why toenail clippers are much larger than fingernails.  Also, keep your clippers clean by wiping them with rubbing alcohol before each use.

Leave nails a little long.  Cutting nails too short is a cause of ingrown toenails.  Also, cutting the nail too short increases the risk of infection.

Cut nails when they are dry.  Wet nails are more likely to tear, bend, or cut poorly because they soften when wet.

Cut the nail to the natural curve of the toe.  Nails shouldn’t dig down on the sides.  Guide the clippers across the nail, following the shape of the nail.  Next use the curve on the clippers to cut the nail’s edges.

Nail filing.  If you like to file your toenails, do not drag the file back and forth.  Gently more the nail file in one direction across the top of each nail.  Try using a glass nail file.  They offer more protection and are easy to clean.


Everyone’s nails grow at different speeds, so it’s important to keep an eye on the length of your nails.  Make sure to trim them before they start rubbing against shoes and causing pain.  Clean, well-cared for, and neatly trimmed toenails lead to comfortable, healthy feet.