Sunday, 18 September 2011

So why are my toenails so thick?

Why Are My Toenails So Thick

Thick toenails are not just an age thing! 

Thick toenails often are often discoloured, crumbly and just look bad . 

I see more and more younger patients with heavily thickend toenails which are causing pain and embarrassment. 

Thick toenails can be painful in shoes they can rub the top of the shoes, they can destroy tights and sock and bed sheets. 

Fungus thickend nails can be yellow and have an odour. If you think your nails will cure themselfs then you are very wrong they will just get worse, so healing thick toenails is a top priority for you.

So why are my toenails so thick?

Often the source of thick toenails is due to a bacterial infection within the nail bed but not always, trauma to the nail (like a heavy item being dropped on the toe!), poor circulation, diabetes, long term ingrown toenail damage, poor nutrition. Runners are prone to thick nails.

  • Trauma
  • Poor Circulation
  • Diabetes
  • Poor Diet
  • Long term ingrowing nails
  • fungus in the nail bed
  • Athletes foot

How to heal thick toenails

Nails need to be nourished and healthy to grow naturally a bit like our hair they sometimes need some help with conditioner to stop becoming dry and flaky.

Same as toenails. Thick toenails will take 3X the time to grow then a normal one especially if they are really thick. 

So to restore toenails back to a more natural appearance the nail bed and nail needs to be encouraged to grow and stop any infection or trauma to the nail bed as it grows. 

Good foot hygiene is essential and as a Foot Health Professional I use a nail softener which patients can use at home daily this not only kills any fungus it restores the nail back to a healthy one whilst the nail grows.

Why are my nails discoloured?
If trauma like running was the original cause your nail may have dried blood underneath the nail which will eventually grow out often a line or ridge is present as the nail grows upwards. 

If a nail fungus was the cause of your thick toenails then the infection causes the nail to go brown, yellow and also can create an odour. As the nail restores back to a healthy one you will see the pinkness of the new nail as if grows upwards.

Read Related Posts : Quick Toenail Fungus Treatments you can start today.

How to cut thick toenails.

This Can be a tricky activity but trimming and filing is essential to encourage the nail to grow and prevent further trauma to the nail bed.

1: Soak your feet in warm water for 15mins, try adding a little salt.
2: Dry feet thoroughly taking care of inbetween the toes.
3: Use Nippers or use clippers to trim any jagged edges or loose nail, file with emery board.
4: If you find cutting difficult try filing down the toenails with a emery boards or even better a diamondeb nail file.

Industry tips

If you visit a professional they will use an electronic nail file to drill and buff the nails down this will thin the nails to a more presentably thickness. 

Home manicure kits also have small drills but i would recommend for safety you visit a pro who can see exactly what they are doing instead of bending over trying to hack at the nails yourself.

But there are some home treatments you can do yourself to prevent a thick toenail.

8 out 10 people with thick toenails also have a fungus present in their nails,  so treat this as well once the fungus has gone or under controlled your nail will not be so discoloured, the nail will stop crumbling and splitting and will be much easier to trim.


Tip 1: Thin the toenail down with an electric file. (Professionals use nail drills in podiatry clinics but you can now buy small toenail electric files see below.

Tip 2: Eliminate any toenail  fungus present in nailbed using a combination of natural and over the counter treatments.

Tip 3: Keep nail short and filed, you can do this by using toenail nippers and diamondeb files.

Tip 4: Use a ToeNail Softener which will soften the nail and makes cutting the nails a lot easier.

When i treat a patient with thick toenails the process i use is to trim the nail down as much as possible, filing down the nail.  

I advise my patients to use a diamondeb nail file to buff the nail down then apply gehwol nail fluid this is a nail softener if the nail is just thick from trauma and no fungus is present and within 4-6 weeks the nail will be easier to trim at home.

Read our related resources information below for more detailed information.

When fungus is present and is the cause of the thick toe nail i advise to apply a fungus cream or oil , now be patient the fungus is deep rooted from the nail bed and may take weeks if not months to repair, the treatment is applied and over time the nail as it grows will restore back to a healthy toenail.

You Can Read More About Solution To Common Foot Problems Here:>>


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Zara Butti MAFHP MCFHP is a trained Foot Health Practitioner working daily with patients in Kent UK . Expert Blogger on foot health conditions and how to treat podiatry problems at home .

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