The word “toenail” comes from the Latin root toca meaning nail or claw. It is believed that the first human nails were made out of small pieces of bone called talons, which are used for climbing and grasping things. These claws would have been attached with tiny hooks called toenails, which are similar to fingernails. Eventually these claws became longer than the rest of our fingers and eventually grew into nails, which then developed into toes (toe-nails).
In some cases, the nail grows downward because of a deformity such as a tumor or infection. Other times it may develop upward due to normal aging. If your toenails grow up, they will probably look like those of a baby’s foot; however, if they grow down, they might resemble those of an adult’s foot.
How To Get Your Toenails Straight?
If you want to keep your toenails straight, there are several things you can do:
Wear shoes that fit well. You don’t need big heels, but if they’re too high or low, the heel could cause your toes to curl inward. Wear socks that cover all the skin around your feet so dirt doesn’t accumulate under them.
If you already have a fungal toenail infection, wear shower shoes in public places (gym, pool, locker room).
Cut your nails straight across or slightly curved. If you like, you can also file them into a square or oval shape. File only the big toes because they are the largest and are more likely to grow gnarled and crooked than the others.
Cut your toenails after taking a warm bath or shower. The skin is softened and it’s easier to see the blood vessels and nerves that are usually white or blue, which makes it easier to avoid cutting them.
Moisturize your feet to keep the cuticles soft and pliable. Avoid using harsh chemicals because they can dry out the skin and make it crack and split.
Wear shoes that fit well to help your toes from bending in awkward ways. In addition to wearing socks, you can also try softening the area around your toes with lotion or oil.
If your toenails curve downward, you may have a genetic condition such as Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome or Hallermann-Streiff syndrome. Other times trauma can cause the nails to grow abnormally. Common causes of trauma include ingrown toenails, fungal infections, athlete’s foot, splinters, and bed sores.
One final thing you can do is contact a podiatrist or physician for further advice and direction.
Do Toenails Grow After Death?
Yes, your nails will continue to grow after you die. This means that any nail polish on your toenails will start to chip off as it continues to grow. It also means that your toe and feet will start to decay as bacteria feeds upon it.
What Do Toenails Protect?
Your toenails protect the ends of your toes and help you in many ways. You use them when walking or running barefoot. They also help you grip things. Toenails also prevent friction from objects rubbing against the bottoms of your feet. They also protect your sensitive skin from coming into contact with harmful things such as gravel or hot sand.
Sources & references used in this article:
Ingrown toenail correction appliance by ZS Goldenberg – US Patent 5,261,872, 1993 – Google Patents
Pachonychia congenita by HL JOSEPH – Archives of dermatology, 1964 – jamanetwork.com
Vertically growing ectopic nail: Nature’s experiment on nail growth direction by I Kikuchi, K Ogata, M Idemori – Journal of the American Academy of …, 1984 – Elsevier
Nail growth direction revisited. Why do nails grow out instead of up? by R Baran – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1981 – europepmc.org