Follow
Share

Do I need to take her to a podiatrist or a nail salon and see if they can help?

Use a podiatrist. You may be able to find one who will make house calls if you can’t get to the office. That’s what I do. I pay a $100.00 trip charge but it is worth it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to jemfleming
Report

Definitely Podiatrist. While there, ask for a referral for in home mail clipping. I did moms during pandemic, and treat nasty I’ve been told by the podiatrist one of the best things to use is Vicks vapor rub. Soak feet, dry, slather with Vicks, then socks overnight (or couple hours daytime). EVERY DAY for 2-3 weeks. Use the nippers as recommended if you must, but unless you know what your doing, I’d say no, go to Podiatrist

i even use Vicks on my tootsies now, at least one night a week. Totally works Thick nails can be a fungus, the Vicks will smother it, nails will grow in healthy

(No I don’t own Vicks stock Lolol)
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MichiganToOhio
Report
Isthisrealyreal Nov 29, 2022
That is really good to know.

Vick's is so awesome for so many things.
(1)
Report
hardm1970: This is the duty of a specialist.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Nail salon probably won't be able to handle them. Try the podiatrist to deal with the nails initially and ask for advice on trimming them in the future.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna
Report

I am on Medicare and a podiatrist trims my toenails every 3 months and Medicare pays.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to bobolo
Report

Oh those thick toenails. I bought one of those "the last nail clipper you would ever need" type of cutters but it didn't come with any directions, so I tried every which way to Sunday to get those to work. Even sig-other couldn't figure them out.

I was so surprised how quickly the nails went from easy to cut, to being very thick. I am ready to try wire cutters or tin snips !! Forget a nail salon, I cannot stand the smell of nail polish. So I use my small sewing scissors for now, while I can still see at that distance what I am doing :)
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to freqflyer
Report

There are dremel type nails kits out there. You may have to do it in stages. I would soak them first. You may not need a dremel then. Or call in a professional to come out the first time, letting them know what to expect. Expect to pay, unless you can find some senior services that do it free or low cost.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to SueGood
Report

I would definitely soak her feet for at LEAST an hour before the podiatrist appt. The thing about a podiatrist is they only have so many soaker tubs and time so they don't soak the toenails or calluses long enough before starting their trimming. Then they have like 10 minutes to do all their work.

My mother would come home from the podiatrist's office with her feet all bleeding and bandaged up. She couldn't put sneakers on for days. I'm shocked she didn't get infections.

It's not true that toenails thicken with age. My beloved MIL (God bless her) always told us to take care of your feet and teeth. When she died at age 90, she had all her own teeth and her feet looked like a 25-year olds! I'm not kidding. People just don't brush their teeth enough or take care of their feet. I'm just a Mom and caregiver and I've taken a pedicure course for caregivers. I'm 63 (as is my husband) and I give him and my daughters pedicures so they can properly take care of their feet.

There is a YouTube channel by the Meticulous Manicurist that has videos of elderly (and not so elderly) clients that she has totally transformed over the course of a year. Thick, curled, fungus toenails transformed. It takes a lot of work but it can be done. Here's her channel:

https://youtu.be/wghfZYhwq6g
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to help2day
Report

A podiatrist is the best solution if they are very overgrown. Once they are trimmed normally, you can do regular maintenance at a nail salon.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Donttestme
Report

thats what i did with my mom cuz i was afraid of cutting her and her nails didnt fit in my clippers so i made her an appointment for a pedicure. you could try a podiatrist first and see what they say.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to justme54
Report

My husband was bedridden and his toenails were a mess. I asked at the local nail parlor where I have my toenails cut and they could not (or would not) travel locally to our home. I found a woman who does nothing else; and she came to our home and cut his toenails, washed his feet and generally treated him like a king. It cost $95 and was worth every penny.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Marylu
Report
southiebella Nov 29, 2022
I need someone like that. My mother's toenails are a disaster.
(3)
Report
With my Daddy his doctor insisted on a podiatrist! He said to me "you are not to do this you need a professional and I will prescribe it". I loved my Daddy's doctor. He really looked out for him and if I insisted or asked for something he really made sure I got it or told me where, who, how to get it.
That being said - You need to insist and don't let them tell you NO!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Ohwow323
Report

My Dad pays a $30 co-pay for quarterly podiatrist trims. For that same money, I started taking him to a nail salon where they do a foot soak first, which makes those thick nails easier to cut/grind down. They don't do the medical wound check on feet, so we alternate.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to KimberlyO
Report

We have a podiatrist come to the house for both parents. Ask around for a recommendation.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BenchmarkKid
Report

Podiatrist Medicare covers first visit and it’s like $75 the next visit
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to KNance72
Report

First thing, is she a dietetic? If yes make the appointments for podiatrist. If not try doing it after her shower which will soften the nails for better trimming. Or you could have her soak her feet in a dish pan to soften them. Make her feel special about the process, you could massage her feet afterwards and paint her nails. Hope my thoughts help!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to VictorianDoll
Report

Podiatrist.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to GAinPA
Report

When toenails are long, thick & curving, normally fungus is the cause. And fungus is very difficult to get rid of once it gets into the nailbed.

That fact aside, I would never allow anyone besides the podiatrist to touch my mother's toenails, ever. She was on blood thinners and had neuropathy in her feet and legs, so any slip of a sharp instrument could have and would have meant BIG trouble for her. Any tiny nick or blister she'd get required home health to be sent in for wound care, and took FOREVER to clear up. And she wasn't even diabetic. Just very old with poor circulation in her extremities.

Medicare pays for a podiatrist to cut your MILs nails (toe and finger) every couple of months (not sure the exact time frame), so that's the route I'd go if it were my MIL. I'd avoid the nail salon for the reasons I mentioned above. Especially with fungal type nails, which are very difficult to cut. Better safe than sorry, right? :)

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

My mother had thick, Thick, THICK nails, four times the thickness of regular nails. No exaggeration. I didn’t cut her nails, I ground them down. There was no chance of over cutting the nails. The grinder I used is actually made for pet nails, but her nails were so thick that regular clippers wouldn’t do. I bought the grinder from Amazon. Here’s the link.

https://www.amazon.com/Bonve-Pet-Upgraded-Trimmers-Rechargeable/dp/B09KBQKQMQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_sspa?crid=1GUF0UJMTDF1X&keywords=pet+nail+grinder+for+dogs&qid=1669655931&sprefix=pet+nail%2Caps%2C279&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExM1dGUklUVVdOM0w0JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODEzMDcyMUVDVTlYRURJWTVDVSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjMyMDI5MTVTTUw2WklPTkxFOSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX3Bob25lX3NlYXJjaF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to polarbear
Report
Bandy7 Nov 28, 2022
Yes polarbear: " four times the thickness of regular nails. No exaggeration."
&
"There was no chance of over cutting the nails."

EXACTLY what I was trying to explain a couple days ago when I wrote:

"use cuticle nippers, NOT nail clippers which will never work, and start cutting the side of the nail and nipping away at it so to speak. It'll come off. The thick stuff under the nail is dead so as long as you're not too close to the nail bed, she won't feel a thing, I promise."
&
if nails are curvy "then mil's toenails probably got a little too long, so in that case there's a lot you can get off before getting too close to the nail bed."
- - - - - - - -

Possibly like you, polarbear, I've dealt with this for years and trimmed/cut/ground nails like this many a time. So my answer was not speculative, but I guess no one liked or thought I gave a helpful answer.

Since OP posted this ? the day before Thanksgiving, I was imagining maybe mil needed her toenails clipped right away so her feet could be presentable at the holiday. Just one of many possibilities and I knew, as you obviously do too, that if what was being described was what I was familiar with, then there was no need to wait for a month or more to get into a podiatrist or get one to the home.

Besides just being presentable, the other strong possibility I was familiar with is when they get so long that they're curvy, they can get caught in blankets or hit up against the end or bottom of an elderly person's shoe and be painful when walking. That's what my mom was experiencing a few years back when her regular pedicure lady retired and she hadn't found a new one yet, but it was winter anyway & no one was seeing her feet like when she wore sandals... So she just let them go. Until it ended up causing her pain from getting so long one of them was hitting her shoe. This is where I was called into the rescue to see if I could help one Sunday. and resulted in the first time I tried to assist by trimming them for her before she went to a New Years Eve party where she figured she'd be doing a lot of standing that night.

I was surprised at the thickness, when you say 4 x the thickness of a normal nail, I'd go so far as to maybe say 7, 8 or even 10x!! My mom explained over and over how she couldn't feel a thing when I was nipping away at them piece by piece. She had type2 diabetes, but did not have neuropathy and could feel her feet and toes.

A couple yrs later when she ended up in the hospital for months on end following an infection [which became invasive after being overlooked by her PCP in the early mo's of the pandemic when no one could see their Dr's in person), I started taking care of her toenails in the hospital since an explosion of other medical problems happened to her as a result of the hospitalization/surgery and she spent the next year in & out of hospital a dozen times. When she was out, she was at rehab, they were on lock-down and no one from the outside, not even people who draw blood or others like hospice [which she wasn't on], but who normally would be allowed in, were allowed into any SNF/rehab at the time. So there was no chance of a podiatrist coming in to provide footcare. Anyway, just a bunch more info to explain how I knew & was actually quite experienced with these kind of nails.
(7)
Report
At her age only a podiatrist should be attending to her feet. Some podiatrists will do house calls. You don't want to be cutting her nails because many elderly do not heal from any kind of skin break, eg: accidentally nicking her skin. If she is diabetic it's even more important not to cut her nails; diabetics have special issues with circulation and healing. As a nurse we were taught to never, ever trim toe nails but to get a referral to the podiatrist. Don't use a nail salon either, too many chances of her getting a fungus or other infection, have her see a professional only.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Breezy23
Report

Yes - get professional help from a podiatrist. Medicare will pay. I found a podiatrist that will make a house call for a $100.00 trip charge. As far as I’m concerned it is worth the money. Medicare still pays for the trim.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to jemfleming
Report

First visit for clean-up and check-up should be with a podiatrist. But then after that, if she doesn't have issues (like diabetes), and she can get up and into the salon chair then take her for pedicures. My 103-yr old Aunt looks forward to her appointments! We've been taking her for years.

If you're going to attempt to clip them yourself, make sure you soak her feet for a long time first. Ingrown nails in the elderly is a problem and very painful, so if you see this, maybe don't DIY.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Geaton777
Report

If you are going to go at it yourself then the type of clippers Gladimhere linked are the way to go, they should be available at your local drug store. I wouldn't try to get it done all in one go, give the feet a good soak and exfoliate and tackle the nails gradually, a millimetre at a time.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie
Report

This is a very good toenail clipper! Used with mom*s husband.

https://www.amazon.com/Podiatrist-Clippers-Professional-Pedicure-Grooming/dp/B07V72Z77W?ref=silk_at_search

You need to be very careful with these, they are very sharp and easy to use and nip the person you are cutting. I did that once in four years. Is she on blood thinners? Cumadin? Nipping around The toenail area could bleed alot.


The safest route is the podiatrist.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to gladimhere
Report

Not against the idea of a podiatrist. But I need to get into a podiatrist for something completely different than nails, and the wait is 6 weeks. Yep, right here in the good ol USA.
All the warnings are good, hardm1970. That said, if mil needs her nails clipped sooner for some reason, it's not that big of a deal to do yourself.
A soak first does help, then use cuticle nippers, NOT nail clippers which will never work, and start cutting the side of the nail and nipping away at it so to speak. It'll come off. The thick stuff under the nail is dead so as long as you're not too close to the nail bed, she won't feel a thing, I promise. Ask her to say something immediately if she does though because that would indicate you're too close. If they're curvy though, then mil's toenails probably got a little too long, so in that case there's a lot you can get off before getting too close to the nail bed. Gloves are DEFINITELY mandatory I'd say. Maybe prepare a rag partially soaked in alcohol nearby to wipe the nippers off here and there.
When you do it with a cuticle nipper, nothing flies around like with nail clippers so you don't need the eye protection you'd need with clippers. A big file will be in order afterwards to even it up, and your mil will be so happy! :)
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Bandy7
Report
polarbear Nov 28, 2022
Agree, cuticle nippers are better. There are heavy duty nippers that can handle thick nails like those of my mom. When she used to go to nail salons, that was what they used to trim her nails after soaking.
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
The one appointment my mom truly looks forward to is the podiatrist. I would try that first since Medicare covers it and they can inspect feet and pick up on any problems that should be further explored as well.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Lymie61
Report

Podiatrist? Yes.

Did your MIL ask for your help with her feet? Or did you see she was in need & decided to offer?

Just wondering about the larger picture.. when some can't manage their own feet it can be due to so many reasons - mobility being #1.

I've been 'hinted at' to provide many services (for free) for a LO - mobility issues seem to mean they can't reach their wallet to pay 😜
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Beatty
Report
Bandy7 Nov 24, 2022
Lol Beatty. Maybe some p.t. is in order to increase reach to the wallet. :-)
(2)
Report
Podiatrist, no doubt. Those thick, gnarly nails require special clippers and foot soak prior to cutting. One also needs to mask and glove due to fungal contamination.

I do my mom's toenails at the MC unit only because she won't allow anyone else to do them and her bath is only once per week (yeah, for care costs just under 10k/month). As a retired RN, I know the limits, having done diabetic footcares over the decades. She has bad hammer toes on one foot that earlier surgery failed to correct and those nails, the ones that remain, are tough to cut and require some massage and gentle stretching of her toes to even get to them. Not a job for a layperson.

Your MIL would likely enjoy a mani-pedi more, but needs the specialized skills and tools of a Podiatrist. Just try to make the day special with a lunch or other special stop.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Luta65
Report

Some pedicure people will come to the house. Ask around.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Fawnby
Report

Midkid brought something to mind. I went to the Podiatrist with Mom. He soaked her feet before he cut her nails.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
Midkid58 Nov 24, 2022
Absolutely soak first. The thicker nails will need to be softened--I mean, I get regular pedicures and they ALWAYS soak my feet first.

You can do a LOT of damage cutting those dry 'hooves'. And get new nail scissors frequently. I realized that most of our nail clippers are now 'ripping' the nail instead of cutting it sharp and clean.

Funny story--Dh is really obsessed with having short fingernails. I had a normal number of nail clippers around the house--maybe 10 pair? IDK. But he was just ranting one Saturday morning b/c he once again, couldn't find any nail clippers. The kids and I all got together and bought 100 pairs. Yup. 100. And 10 of those were 'gold' and easily seen. It was probably his favorite Christmas present ever.
(5)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter