Tippie Toes owner Dave Osmick trims the toenails of La Grande resident Cheyanna Inman. Osmick recently started Tippie Toes, a one-of-a-kind business catering to those who have trouble cutting their own toenails. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
With years of service as a certified nursing assistant, La Grande resident Dave Osmick has learned that some people need a lot of help with activities of daily living, and others just a little bit of specialized assistance.
Osmick is stepping up to fill a small health care niche, offering a hard-to-find service for people needing help with one very basic need. He recently started Tippie Toes, a one-of-a-kind business catering to those who have trouble cutting their own toenails.
Most people take for granted the ability to bend over and use a nail clipper. Some, though, find that simple task daunting. Osmick said people who might have problems with it include those recovering from illness or injury, people with a lack of flexibility, arthritis, or post-surgery difficulties.
“I saw the need for it from my work in nursing homes and home health hospice. I think there are lots of people who would need this service,” Osmick said.
Osmick was born and raised in southern Michigan, earned a degree in biology from Alma College, and a forestry degree from the University of Michigan. A job with the federal Bureau of Land Management brought him to Medford in Oregon.
Later, he and his wife, Jo Cowling, moved to La Grande. They have lived here 25 years. Cowling, now retired, is a former director of the La Grande public library.
Osmick earned a degree in accounting at Eastern Oregon University in 1985.
He worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation for a dozen years before deciding to enter the health care field.
He became a certified nursing assistant in 2002, and today works in a local home health and hospice program. Cutting toenails is one of many nursing tasks he’s learned during his career. It’s a health care skill he is transferring to his own business.
“I should stress that I’m not doing pedicures. With a pedicure you would spend a lot more time cleaning and shaping the nails. It’s more of a beauty thing, while this is more of a functional thing,” he said.
The simple toe-nail cutting tool kit Osmick takes to patients’ homes includes shears, a curette, and files.
While there are many types of patients that can benefit from his service, there are two types of he cannot take on: diabetics and people on bloodthinning medications like Coumadin. Those patients, he said, need to have their nails done by a podiatrist or a licensed or registered nurse.
Having only recently started Tippie Toes, Osmick doesn’t have many clients yet. But he believes things will pick up once word gets out.
The service is one rarely found in U.S. communities, he said.
“From research I’ve done, I know there are some in the United Kingdom, almost none in the U.S.,” he said.
For more information about Tippie Toes, or to schedule an appointment, call Osmick at 541-786-5570.