How to Cut Diabetic Toenails


Diabetics must be very careful with their feet. Cutting toenails for a diabetic person is a task that should be completed with precision and attention to detail.

Things You'll Need

  • Small foot tub
  • Bath towel
  • Toenail clippers
  • Emery board

Fill small foot tub with warm water. Test the water with your elbow to make sure the water is not too hot. Diabetics have decreased sensations in their feet and hot water can easily cause burns. Soak feet in the tub for no longer than five minutes.

Use bath towel to dry off feet thoroughly. Be sure to dry each toenail and between the toes well.

Use the toenail clippers to cut each toenail straight across. Do not cut the toenail all the way up to the skin line. Cutting toenails too short may cause sores or blisters to form.

Use an emery board to gently file each toenail straight across. Be careful not to file the skin around the toenails as this may also cause blisters.

Inspect each toenail to make sure that the skin was not damaged. If there are any cuts or abrasions to the end of the toes from the procedure, call your physician as soon as possible. The physician will need to evaluate the wound to ensure that infection does not occur.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to work in an area with good lighting. Work slowly and pay extra attention to the task at hand.
  • Diabetics have decreased sensations in their feet and may not feel pain. Be sure to inspect your feet well after cutting your toenails. If you have injured any of your toes, it is very important to see your physician. Small wounds from cutting your toenails can progress to larger wounds and infection. If allowed to progress, amputation of the feet may result.

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