The art of toenail cutting 169



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Have you, like me, noticed that your toes are a lot further away from you now than they used to be? It has to be that, doesn’’t it? I used to reach them very easily when they needed their nails trimming or their own private little scrub while I was standing in the shower. But over the years they have gradually and slyly moved away from me, especially recently, until I now have to use a pair of those special long handled nail scissors to cut them, an unsatisfactory solution because you need to hold the appropriate toe with one hand while you trim with the other. And let’’s face it: if you’’re using those special scissors to do the job, it stands to reason that the other hand isn’t going to be long enough to do the holding!

The result is that you have to use the end of the scissors to gently move the toe you want into the right position and then try to quickly trim the nail before the whole digit slides craftily back to its position hiding behind the one next door. This only has to occur a few times, before you lose your cool and slash at the nail before it can move, usually imparting severe wounds on other parts of your feet!

Another even more annoying problem that develops with older age is that the toenails, especially those on the fifth little toe seem to grow thick, rather than longer! Try cutting them with the long-handled scissors and the nail, being tougher than the blades, makes them bend out of alignment and almost rip the nail out of its nerve-rich socket, the result being agony, but the offending nail still remains firmly attached to your foot and the scissors are only fit for the rubbish bin.

There are several other options that can be employed of course. One is to use an ordinary pair of nail clippers (the large variety), take a deep breath and force your body to bend far enough so that you can just barely, reach the site with this small tool. As you do this, you can feel the pressure soaring inside your head and all your internal organs squirming in agitation, while you make a quick grab for the nail and squeeze, hoping you hit your target, but unable to tell because of your proximity to unconsciousness making you go momentarily blind! This method works occasionally!

Another way out of your problem is to get your husband/wife/partner to do the cutting for you. You sit grandiosely in a nice arm chair, leg stretched out on a convenient pouf, while the ‘cutter’ crouches in front of you, like some acolyte kneeling before a cult leader, appealing for the right of membership. I know for a fact that not a lot of partners are prepared to help out in this kind way!

Then of course, there is the professional approach. You can go to your local health service and make an appointment to see the podiatrist and, unless you’’re a full blown pensioner, you pay about $80 for the privilege of each visit! I haven’’t tried this yet, but I understand from friends that poor old pensioners like me just pay a $75 initial registration fee and from there on it’’s free. The trouble is, I’’d feel somehow a little daft, going to the hospital just to get my nails cut and having to admit that I can’’t manage it myself – I do have a little pride left, for what it’s worth!

So there you have it: just another of the prices we have to pay for the good fortune of living longer and bending less. As I said at the beginning, I’’m still not quite convinced that the problem isn’t actually caused by the fact that our feet grow further away from us in the passing years, much like the lobes of our ears continuing to grow, along with the bulbous bit on the end of our noses!

Do you have trouble cutting your toenails? How do you do it? Or do you let them grow on and on? Share your stories below!

Brian Lee

  1. Not sure where you live Brian, but in Melbourne we have a University which trains all the podiatrists in Australia, and they are always happy to have people for these students to train on, consequently it is very inexpensive. I’ve been going there for years with various foot problems and even when I wasn’t a pensioner the cost was only $20. They are fantastic, and have a supervisor. I got my last pair of orthotics from them at a fraction of the price. I’m happy to give you the details if you live in Melbourne.

    8 REPLY
    • Unfortunately Jane, we live down in darkest South Gippsland, which would means a two and a half trip each way to get into Melbourne. This is one of the problems of country living; we have wonderful fresh air, plenty of greenery all around us and a peaceful, safe lifestyle, but it does mean we miss out on some of the luxuries of city living – like getting our feet seen to!

    • Hi Jane. I pay for a pedicure when I need to, which ain’t cheap! Which Uni do u go to and how do I join up?

    • Helen Di Fazio, I got to Latrobe University Health Science clinic, the phone number is 94795831, they are Bundoora.

    • Hi Jane, I live in Melbourne and also use orthotics. I’d like to know the details of the uni you go to. I’m also a pensioner and the cost of podiatrists can be too much for me. Thank you

    • Hi Pat, I got to Latrobe University Health Science clinic, that’s where I get my orthotics and have my corns etc done there. the phone number is 94795831.

    • Wow I have been paying for mine .didn’t think of the uni .I get my hair cut for $2 at a hairdressing college ..

  2. Freakin’ funny and absolutely spot on. I took off half a nail in my last foray into this contortionist type activity – of course now each time the toe hits the floor I winch in pain. Go to the local nail bar and have a pedicure doesn’t sound like too bad an idea to me ( cheaper then a podiatrist visit).

  3. Yes it’s getting harder…..joints n back are stiffer and you are prone to dizziness when bending down…..!!!

  4. I stand on our front steps, the foot for cutting on the top step of three and the other on the bottom. This puts the toes in easy reach without the strain.

    3 REPLY
    • That’s a great idea Brian. We don’t have steps but I’ll get the ladder out for hubby. He’s the one who has the problems. Not me. Luckily, I’m still bendy enough.

    • That’s a great solution. Step ladder would work as well so I’m going to try it right now. LOL

  5. Oh Dear Brian! I’m sitting in a Doctors waiting room laughing out loud! I wish I could lighten their serious expressions and their disapproving stares by reading them your account,which is brutally honest and hilarious! Try a foot soak in hot water before hand. I’m afraid it’s had to be the Podiatrist for me!

    1 REPLY
    • Glad you had a bit of fun! That was the main idea of the article, with a supplementary of getting some new information from other members of Starts at Sixty. There’s been a lot of very useful information here today – I now have to decide which suits me best.

  6. Has anyone tried a pedicure?? I would love to know the results .

    7 REPLY
    • I had a pedicure years ago, agony as my feet are very sensitive. The podiatrist has to hold my foot with a grip of steel otherwise I wriggle away. Have always hated my feet being touched.

    • Pedicures are relaxing and a good way of having great feet! No appointments needed in shopping centres. Cheaper if the men don’t want a pretty colour varnish!!!

    • I love pedicures. Find the right one tho and you’ll never go back.

    • yes I have, and to be truthful the places in the shopping centre aren’t all that good, don’t seem to care if they hurt you or make your foot bleed, I had a bad experience, not going there again, is there a cheap place on the gold coast?

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