Toenails!! (seriously)

Help! A very good friend of mine, a fellow COPDer is having trouble cutting their toenails. I know this seems funny, but it is serious. Has anyone got any suggestions about how he can cut his nails without being breathless by bending over!! :-) (ha,ha)

21 Replies

  • i always sit on the bed and bend my leg and bring my foot to me,

  • Thanks Stitch and Rosie. Money's a bit tight so I think a private chiropody appointment is out of the question. I suggested he saw his doctor but we 're not sure if this is medical or not, I had n't thought about a referral to a podiatrist! I am just a bit worried that if all else fails - I' ll end up cutting them!! I am not sure that our friendship is "that" good!! x

  • Hi, I saw in a newspaper catalogue a long handled pair of nail scissors, they may do the trick. Bettaware do them too if you've a local bettaware catalogue person. I'm sure a quick look online, or even eBay will source you a pair. I friendship is worth toenail cutting!!!! Good luck x

  • Thanks mike. Will have a look later. x

  • I got reffered to a podiatrist, and go every 3 months. Yes ask the gp.

  • the university usually have a podiatry clinic which are often free, students have to have the practical experience but they are always checked out by the superiors

  • That's a brilliant idea. My local FE college has a hair and beauty dept, so perhaps I could get my hair cut while 'he' gets his toenails cut!! Two birds with one stone!! x :-)

  • I once had mine cut, and some rather nice pink polish applied, at a carers day held in a community centre. There was a carers group who organised it every year, they would have stalls from the NHS and council for healthy eating, stop smoking, and so on. They would also get college students to come and do hairdressing and manicure for free.

    I can just about manage to cut mine still, a combination of sitting on a low step outside the bathroom and/or sitting on the floor. I can't bend over to get to them any more and I can't reach from a normal sitting position.

    I have to pull my foot towards myself to get to the big toes, which makes it difficult to apply that polish afterwards... ;-)

    Maybe this is a task for the Breathe Easy groups up and down the country - is there a college or university, or perhaps a teaching hospital, in their area that will be happy to arrange free or cheap toenail cutting sessions ?

  • wow this brings COPD home to me. I thought it was just me that struggled to cut my toe nails. For the better part of 2 years I have not worn socks because of the extreme discomfort it causes me to put them on. I suffer badly from hard skin because of not wearing socks and the only way to sort it is to soak my feet in warm water then paddle out side to rub the skin off on the concrete oh joy.

  • Thanks Gordon and Preshous. This illness is so un dignifying.if you'd have told me six months ago that I'd be talking about mucus/phlegm or toenails as after dinner talk, I would have laughed my socks off!!

    Gordon, I had imagined you as a real -He Man type!! How disappointing to find that you wear pink nail polish!! Is this something you do in private or do you go out wearing it? I have a nice stock of those stick on diamante nail decorations you can have. Looks like my finger nail decorating days could be over if I am reduced to cutting toe nails - you can have them - will send them in a plain brown envelope!! B-)

    Preshous, you are not alone in the 'can't cut my toe nails' stakes. You are in good company! I think it's one of those things that we don't like to admit to because it's embarrassing and there's a joke to be found in the word 'toenail' or is that just me. (sad person that I am, I am laughing to myself over word toenail!!) I have a another good friend who keeps asking if the events of the recent past will now make me grow up - I guess if I can still laugh at the word 'toenail' then the answer must be "No" - ha. ah

    Thanks to both of you x x

  • Hi stitch. Yes my nails are definitely looking more like granite every week. if only my finger nails were that strong. I did n't know that about the middle toe but believe it or not that appears to grow faster than the rest! I noticed it only a few weeks ago. My daughter laughed when I mentioned it to her. she thought I was imagining it. Also some of my nails are growing with ridges across them. What's that about??? no more flip-flops or sandals I am afraid!! ha ha x

  • You have answered a question for me Stitch. For a long time now I have not been able to do my own toe nails. My wife cuts them but I have to bath first as otherwise some of the nails, the big toe in particular, is so thick it is like cutting into concrete. Now I know why this is. Never gave it a thought that lack of oxygen would cause it. This illness is a great life changer that is for sure..

  • Hi all

    Some Age UKs offer a toenail cutting service, however they do charge, not too sure on prices you would need to check with your nearest one.

    Kind regards


  • Goodness!! when I asked the original question about toenails I thought I was being a bit silly. I didn't realise that it 's a problem for so many, I am surprised to know that COPD actually changes the structure of the toenail. This has been a real learning curve. Thanks to all who have replied x

  • Amazing what we can learn about each other and the way we then realise that it isn't 'just me' but that many others have something similar.

    I've had the thick toenails for some time, I have to be careful how I cut the big ones as they were starting to ingrow at one side, I thought it was odd that they were more opaque and brittle. I compared mine to being icing sugar smooth in the past to being more like 'coconut ice' now...

    I've had ridges on my finger nails since childhood, caused by having my fingers trapped in a door when I was little. Whatever it is that creates the nails from the base got crushed and they've been 'crinkle cut' like that ever since. I have had them smoothed from time to time, at the carer events I mentioned, but they just grow back the same and filing the ridges down makes the nails weak.

    I still reckon it could be a good thing for Breathe Easy groups to check their local area for college and university students who want a bit of experience in podiatry.

  • Oh Gordon, I love coconut ice -but not any more!!! ha ha xx

  • Have I put you off the pink bits with having that colour on my toenails :-D

  • Talking of pink bits I managed to take off the top off a toe along with the nail this morning. At the moment my foot is swathed in an army towel I have had for 50years. I knew it would come in handy some day. I, like many of you peeps, did not know the difficulties of living with COPD.

    Be lucky

  • Like others have got the point where cutting my toe nails is not only difficult but could be downright dangerous. I did try wielding a pair of long handled scissors and frightened myself to death!

    In addition to COPD I am also a Diabetic (insulin dependent) and have dry skin and Peripheral Arterial disease (cold and reduction of feeling). My GP would not refer me to a chiropodist since I had no trauma on my feet. I now go every 8 weeks for a session which cost £33 (about 4 packets of fags) a time. She not only cuts my toe nails but treats corns and cuts and files down hard skin. My feet feel like they belong to someone else, Its great.

    I have had ridges on my nails and I am reliably informed can also be a symptom of Underactive Thyroid (I am).



  • That treatment sounds lovely. I 've been tested for thyroid conditions in the past but I am now wondering what those ridges could mean. I' ll have a word with my GP next week. I expect because of your diabetes you have to be extra careful about your feet. I' ve never really paid any attention to my feet - apart from applying the odd pot of nail polish to them. This has really opened my eyes. x

  • I can vouch for the long handled nail sissors. They only cost around £12 give or take a pound and worth every penny. If you can cut your nails after a bath or just a soak in nice warm water this softens the nails. Bring your foot up to you rather than bend. But if you have to bend then just cope with one cut at a time.

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