Tips for Proper Toenail Care During the Course of the Winter

Couples Feet On CarpetThroughout the warm-weather months, many residents of Toronto and the GTA will take advantage of any opportunity to dress casually, including slipping on open-toed shoes or sandals without socks or hose. While such footwear is primarily worn for comfort and to keep their feet cooler, it can also be helpful in maintaining toenail health, as the nails are being exposed to the positive effects of sunlight and moist air.

But the winter season presents an entirely different picture; socks, full shoes, and boots are the norm in terms of footwear, while the air tends to be much drier, and the feet are exposed to wet/damp conditions.  Consequently, the toes and toenails can become more susceptible to conditions such as:

  • Chilblain
  • Trench foot
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Toenail fungus/cuticle infections
  • Cracked, split, or peeling cuticles/nails

With respect to properly caring for their toes and toenails during the winter, one of the major challenges faced by area residents is simply keeping their feet warm and dry; this has become increasing difficult due to the changing weather patterns experienced within the local region – fluctuating temperatures and freeze-and-thaw cycles mean they might have to contend with foot-deep snow, parking lots covered with thick slush and puddles, and heavy rainfalls several times throughout the winter, perhaps even in the same week. And such circumstances can conspire to wreak havoc on the feet and toes, and thus the toenails too.

Although these types of weather conditions cannot be controlled, there are several steps that people can take to properly care for their toenails over the winter months; these will include:

  • Wash the feet and toes on a daily basis and dry thoroughly
  • Apply moisturizer to the toes and cuticles before going to bed
  • Keep nails short; trim often (to prevent cracks/ingrown toenails)
  • Avoid footwear that compresses the toes – choose comfort over style
  • Raise the humidity level of the air inside the home (invest in a humidifier)
  • Routinely inspect the toes and toenails for the possibility of fungal infection
  • Indulge the feet, toes, and toenails – soak in a foot bath on a frequent basis
  • Remove wet footwear and socks as soon as possible and dry the feet and toes
  • Let toenails ‘air out’ at home by removing slippers and socks and elevating feet

As noted above, in direct contrast to summer-weather shoe styles, the type of footwear worn over the winter season covers the feet entirely. While this practice is important in and of itself, it can also subconsciously increase the tendency for people to forget about caring for their feet and toenails; in a sense, an out-of-sight, out-of-mind scenario.

However, due to the cold temperatures, dry air, and wet outdoor conditions that Toronto residents must endure throughout the winter months, foot and toenail care should in fact be given heightened priority at this time of the year.

See a Podiatrist if Toenail-Related Concerns Arise or Persist Over the Winter

Soaking FeetTaking proper care of the feet and toenails during the winter will help keep them healthy and soft and ready for the return of the warmer weather – and for the return to wearing summertime footwear too.

However, circumstances may arise where, despite their best efforts, individuals may still experience one or more acute or persistent issues with their toenails and/or cuticles over the winter. Should any concerns arise, it would be wise to seek professional attention as soon as possible before more serious/severe foot conditions, and perhaps even reduced mobility, can occur.

The certified podiatrists at Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic offer a comprehensive range of services for the treatment of winter foot care-related issues, including those specific to the toes and toenails such as:

  • Fungal nails
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Corns and calluses
  • Swelling and inflammation (Chilblain)
  • Tingling or loss of feeling (Trench Foot)
  • Pain between the toes (Morton’s Neuroma)

For more information on the full range of foot care services provided by the professionals at Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic, please visit our Foot Care Services page.

If you have concerns about the health or condition of your toes and toenails during the winter months and home care measures are not resolving the situation, call the qualified podiatrists at Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic today at 647-989-7794 or
Contact us to schedule an office visit as soon as possible.


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