How do I choose the best nail file?

Topical antibiotics can be used to treat an infection caused by an ingrown toenail.

Choosing the best nail file depends on price, material and ease of handling. A nail file can be purchased at a drugstore very cheaply, or at a high-end department store, which can be more expensive. A common type of nail file is the file. This tool does an efficient job of filing and shaping toenails, but when toenails are especially thick or hard, a metal or electric nail file may be a better choice.

The wrong nail file, or using one the wrong way, can cause an ingrown toenail.

Great care must be taken when using a nail file. Filing your toenails with a rough motion like a saw can damage the nail bed or even cause an ingrown toenail. Also, filing toenails too short can cause tissue damage and even contribute to an infection. People with circulatory problems or diabetes should seek foot care from an experienced podiatrist. Additionally, patients with these conditions may be more prone to infections, and if an injury occurs during nail filing, healing may be delayed.

A steel nail file may be more suitable than a file for filing your toenails.

A diamond nail file is made of metal with diamond powder on the surface of the file. When cleaning nails with a diamond file, the edges are usually smoother and filing is usually easier than when filing with a file. In addition, diamond or metal nail files are easy to clean and can be sanitized to reduce the risk of infection. On the other hand, sandpaper is difficult to clean and cannot be disinfected.

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Some people, especially those with diabetes, should visit a podiatrist to have their toenails trimmed and other routine maintenance done.

Electric nail files are sometimes used in a professional nail salon because they are effective for filing and shaping acrylic nails. As acrylic nails are thicker and stronger than natural ones, they often require a file that offers more power than a stainless steel file or file. Electric nail files must be used very carefully or they can remove too much of the nail, causing injury or permanent damage to the nail.

An oral antibiotic may be needed to treat a nail infection.

If filing your toenails causes an injury or ingrown toenail, the area should be observed for signs and symptoms of infection. This includes redness, swelling and pain. Also, extreme tenderness, drainage, and pus formation can be signs of a bacterial infection that may require an antibiotic. Your doctor may recommend using a topical antibiotic ointment, but in some cases an oral antibiotic may be the treatment of choice. Those who are uncomfortable filing their toenails should have it done by a professional, either at a nail salon or a doctor’s office, to reduce the risk of further infections.

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