Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:
Proper trimming. Cut toenails in a fairly straight line, and do not cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
Well-fitting shoes and socks. Do not wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe area. Avoid shoes that are loose because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when running or walking briskly.
Do not cut a notch in the nail. Contrary to what some people believe, this does not reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward.
Do not repeatedly trim nail borders. Repeated trimming does not change the way the nail grows and can make the condition worse.
Do not place cotton under the nail. Not only does this not relieve the pain, it provides a place for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in infection.
Over-the-counter medications are ineffective. Topical medications may mask the pain, but they do not correct the underlying problem.
Dr. Barbara Norvell
In general, if a diabetic has very thick and difficult to trim toe nails, then it is recommended they see a podiatrist for nail care. Often, the over-the-counter nail trimmers are unable to adequately trim thickened toe nails. If not properly cut, this can lead to painful ingrown nails and possibly infections. There is also the chance of causing a cut into the skin of your mother which could lead it slow healing, infection and (in worst case scenarios) amputations. It is important to be very careful in trimming a diabetic patient's nails, and a Podiatrist would be the most qualified to do this with minimal risk. In addition to the trimming of your mother's nails, the Podiatrist will also be able to do a thorough foot exam to assess general issues and health.