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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Tips for Cutting Fingernails and Toenails

August 2023 | Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Cutting your nails is a personal hygiene task that must be completed regularly to maintain healthy and strong nails. In the list below, I have shared general tips to make trimming your nails easier and suggestions of adaptive products that can be used to increase independence with nail care.

  • Cut your nails after bathing/showering or after soaking your nails in warm water for a few minutes. Water softens your nails and makes them easier to cut.

  • Consider getting a manicure or pedicure. This can be helpful if individuals have fine motor or sensory challenges. It can also be a special treat for individuals who have difficulty tolerating nail trimming. The American Academy of Dermatology Association website has information on manicure and pedicure safety opens in new window.

  • Consider using nail clippers that can rest on a surface to help steady your hand. 


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  • Consider using nail clippers that rotate to make it easier to hold the nail clippers.


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  • Consider using automatic nail clippers.


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  • Consider using nail clippers with an attached magnifying glass to make it easier to see your nails. 


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If you are looking for information on how to cut nails, an article from wikiHow called How to Cut Your Fingernails and Toenails opens in new window provides helpful instructions and pictures. 

Please note: We are sharing information about these products for educational purposes only. The Adult Down Syndrome Center does not receive financial support or compensation for sharing information about these products. 

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.