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How To Treat Thick Toe Nails

How Can Thickened Toenails Be Treated


If your thick toenails are caused by fungal infection, your doctor may recommend oral and or topical antifungal medications. You may also be able to get laser treatment which is especially designed for eliminating fungal infection of the toenails and fingernails. Laser treatment is excellent because it is quick and painless and highly effective .

You should understand that no matter what techniques you use, if your problem is caused by fungus it will not resolve without treatment for fungal infection. Be sure to see your doctor and discuss your options so that you can move forward effectively.

If your toenails have simply become thick with age or due to trauma or stress, your doctor may recommend a number of different treatments. For example, he or she may decide that it would be a good idea to reduce the size of the plate of the nail.

If the toenail is painful on a regular and ongoing basis, your doctor may recommend complete removal.

If your problem is caused by a systemic condition, your doctor must diagnose and treat the underlying cause as well as attending to the symptoms of the thickened nail.

Symptoms Of Nail Psoriasis

Typical symptoms of thickened toenails caused by Psoriasis include:

  • Discolouration: Nails may turn yellow, green or brown and there may be a small red or white spot that looks like a drop of blood or oil underneath the nail
  • Appearance: There may be pitting in the nail which looks like small pinprick holes , ridges or grooves and you may develop thick toenails if there is an infection. White, chalky debris may also build up under the nail, known as subungual hyperkeratosis
  • Nail Lifting: In some cases, the toenail may lift up off, or separate from, the nail bed, starting from the tip and extending towards the root of the nail. This is known as onycholysis

What Causes Toenail Fungus

Thick toenails from onychomycosis are usually due to Dermatophytes , Candida or Non Dermatophytic Molds .

It is normal to have microscopic fungi on your skin but sometimes this can lead to infection. Thickened toenail fungus infections are typically caused by:

  • Nail Injury: damage to the nail allows the fungus to invade and infect the nail
  • Poor Foot Hygiene: failing to keep the feet clean and dry
  • Shoes: tight shoes, or ones that dont allow your feet to breathe leading them to become hot and sweaty are the ideal breeding ground for fungi
  • Walking Barefoot: in areas prone to fungal infection such as swimming pools, public showers and gyms
  • Aging: infections most commonly affect people over the age of 60 as nails naturally thicken and grow slower, the blood supply diminishes and there is increased susceptibility to infection
  • Weakened Immune System: from illness or medication
  • Health Conditions: such as diabetes, circulatory problems and psoriasis

Toenail fungus infections can be highly contagious so it is important to take steps to prevent spreading the infection by keeping your feet clean, dry and covered.

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How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection

Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.

These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.

You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:

  • don’t keep your feet clean and dry
  • wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
  • walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
  • have damaged your nails
  • have a weakened immune system
  • have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease

Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.

How To Get Rid Of Thick Toenails


Getting rid of thickened toenails depends on what is causing them in the first place.

If thickened toenails are being caused by diabetes, hypothyroidism, or poor circulation, the nails will likely stay the same thickness unless these conditions are improved or addressed.

Proper toenail hygiene, clipping, and wearing appropriately sized footwear may help with toenail thickness over time.

If the thick toenails are being caused by a nail fungus, the nail will likely stay thick until the underlying fungus is cleared.

Toenail fungus is normally more difficult to treat than fungal infections on the skin, and will likely require medications to clear up.

Speak with a doctor about options about toenail fungus, including creams or oral antifungal medications.

Due to the slow-growing nature of toenails, and the difficulty of clearing toenail fungus, even when being treated toenail fungus may take a year or more to fully clear up.

âStrut Nail Formula is a physician and pharmacist formulated antifungal medication which combines multiple antifungals with a driving agent to help with delivery deep into the nail.

Schedule an Online Visit with our doctors today to see if a nail fungus is the cause of your thickened toenails and if Strut Nail Formula is a good option for you.

If you are a good candidate for treatment, your nail formula can be shipped directly to your front door.

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Garlic And White Vinegar

You can administer raw cloves of garlic for the natural treatment of thick white toenails that possess a brittle and crumbly texture.

How to use?

  • Chop the garlic cloves and pound the pieces into a paste
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of plain white vinegar to the garlic paste in the jar
  • Apply the mixture to the thick, discolored toenails
  • Wrap the toenails with a sterile gauze
  • Let the mixture seep into your skin for about 3-4 hours
  • Do this twice or thrice a day for the natural treatment of hard thick toenails

Benefits of using garlic and white vinegar

Garlic is incredibly beneficial for the cure the inflammation and pain of the thick brown toenails. Garlic contains phytochemical compounds such as ajoene and allicin that are highly effective in the natural inhibition of thick toenails fungus. The topical application of the mixture helps in the alleviation of pain and enhance the healthy circulation of blood in the affected areas.


Conduct a patch test on the skin to ascertain that the paste is not too harsh for your skin.

What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus

The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.

Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.

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What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus

Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.

Laser Treatment For Fungal Toenails


One of the newest types of treatment options for fungus infections under toenails is the use of laser treatment. The idea of the laser is that it heats up the nail matrix, where the nail grows, and kills the fungus. The lasers heat up the nail bed to temperatures ranging from 104°F-140°F .

There have been a few small studies on the effect of laser treatment on toenails, but the studies havent been completed on a large scale to come up with anything conclusive. The sample sizes of the studies are not large enough to be medically relevant.

Laser treatment also has a few downsides. As you could imagine, treating a fungal infection with lasers is not very cost efficient. Currently, laser treatment costs approximately $800 per session and most people begin to see results after 4 sessions. The expense is typically not covered by healthcare insurance which means you will be responsible for the full cost of the treatment.

Not only is laser treatment expensive, but it can be painful. The treatment requires your toe to be heated to 140°F. After asking a few people who have tried this method of treatment, the conclusion was that it was very painful and they often had to ask their podiatrist to stop in the middle of sessions and take a break due to the pain. They also said that the pain lingers for a day or two after a session which caused discomfort walking or moving.

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Tips For Taking Care Of Your Thick Toenails

Proper grooming can help a great deal when you have thick toenails. Appropriate trimming and filing can help reduce thickness. Seeing a podiatrist or pedicurist on a regular basis is the best way to be certain of proper grooming. If this option is not available to you, talk with your doctor or podiatrist about the best techniques for grooming your thickened toenails on your own.

Conferring with your doctor or podiatrist is especially important if you have poor circulation or reduced sensation in your feet. If you have diabetes, these conditions are almost a given. Additionally, if you are taking anticoagulants you must also be very cautious about trimming your nails.

If you do not have any of these conditions or complications, you can feel safe in following these directions:

  • Soak your feet in warm soapy water for about 10 minutes.
  • Dry your feet completely.
  • Using proper clippers, trim your nails straight across from one corner to the other. Do this in a series of small clips rather than one long one. This will help prevent chipping and splitting.
  • File your nails using a nail file or an emery board.
  • It can be very hard to trim your thick toenails. Your nail trimmer may not be effective, and you may need to purchase a special pair of podiatry grade clippers. You may also need a very tough nail file. Be sure not to use cuticle pushers on your toenails. The cuticles help to prevent nail infection.

    Disclaimer: Pedi Reviews does not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.

    How To Manage A Thickened Toenail

    This content was published in 2012. We do not recommend that you take any clinical decisions based on this information without first ensuring you have checked the latest guidance.

    A. This may be a condition known as onychographosis, where typically the toenail becomes thickened and grows at an angle. The nail can become discolored and, in some cases, hypertrophy can cause the nails to grow in a claw-like shape.

    Injury can damage growth cells, causing the nail to thicken. Typically the big toe is affected but ill-fitting shoes can cause onychogryphosis in several nails. The condition becomes more common with age.

    Management depends on the severity of the condition and whether the nail is causing pain or difficulty with wearing shoes. If the condition is caused by repetitive micro-trauma avoiding pressure can sometimes improve the condition but onychogryphosis is rarely cured. The affected nail can be cut so that it is more manageable.

    Products containing urea or salicylic acid are available to soften the nail for cutting but I would advise against using any chemical keratolytic unless under supervision of a podiatrist. It is much better to file the nail on a regular basis to keep it manageable. However, filing the nail thinner is also probably best left to a podiatrist because the inadvertent damage this might cause to the soft tissue under the nail can lead to infection. A podiatrist will grind the nail at frequent intervals.

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    When To See A Doctor

    People with mild symptoms of fungal infection may treat their toenails at home. But infections can lead to more serious problems, such as foot ulcers, in people with diabetes. Poor blood flow can keep infections from healing.

    If your toenails continue becoming discolored, thicker, or deformed despite treatments, itâs a good idea to see a doctor. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have diabetes, as toenail fungus can lead to more serious infections and diabetic foot problems. Itâs possible that your thick yellow toenails are caused by conditions such as psoriasis, a skin disease.

    Doctors can better diagnose the cause of your thick yellow toenails by collecting and analyzing nail clippings. They can then prescribe a treatment plan. Treatments may include prescription medicines you can take by mouth or removal of the damaged nail.

    How To Prevent Thick Toenails

    Home Remedy for Thick Toenails

    You can prevent thick toenails by the following measures,

    Keep your feet and hands clean by following good hygiene practices. Dry them immediately after a wash

    • Walking barefoot at home to let your feet breathe
    • Avoid walking barefoot in public places
    • Disinfect your nail trimming tool kit regularly
    • Avoid constant exposure to wet areas
    • Wear flip-flops in locker or sauna rooms
    • Use a foot powder to keep them dry and clean
    • Moisture your feet regularly using a thick moisturizer to soften your nails

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    How To Cut Thick Toenails

    It is necessary to soften the thick yellow toenails before cutting and trimming toenails into shape.

    • Dip your feet in a tub filled with lukewarm water
    • Keep your toes immersed in the warm water for about 20-25 minutes
    • Clip at the softened nails by using a nail cutter
    • Make sure that you do not clip the nail cuticle
    • File your toenails into shape
    • Moisturize your toes with coconut oil after cutting the toenails

    The home remedies to get rid of thick toenails are quick, efficient, effective, and nourishing for the skin as well. Follow through with the home remedies to soothe the pain and cure the discoloration and hardness of toenails.

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    Symptoms Of Thick Toenails

    Often toenails will start to thicken without being noticed. Good foot care will prevent this and should become a daily ritual. Every time you have a shower, wipe your feet and in between your toes, and check your nails for changes.

    Here are changes inyour toenails to check for:

    • Toenails split or crack easily
    • Toenails are brittle
    • There is a bad odour from the nail
    • The nails lift easily from the nail bed
    • Dirt gets under the nail bed
    • Pain or swelling anywhere around the nail

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    How To Treat Thick Toenails

    According to the different causes shown above, treatments for thick toenails are also various. Both home care and medical treatment can be applied to cope with this condition.

    1. Trim toenails carefully. You will need to trim your toenails carefully once they have become thicker. Thick toenails are easier to split and irritate if pressure is put on them incorrectly. Start by soaking your feed in warm water for approximately ten minutes. Using nail nippers rather than standard nail clippers to ensure that you are able to cut through the nail without putting too much pressure on the nail. Take your time and cut straight across the nail to avoid developing a crack or ingrown toenails later. You can also reference the table below to learn about appropriate treatment options based on the nature of your condition.

    2. Try natural remedies. In less severe cases, natural remedies can be used to help treat a thickened toenail. A mixture of tea tree oil and olive oil applied to the nail can help soften the nail so it becomes less thick. Apply the mixture to the toenail with a cotton ball twice a day until the nail returns to normal.

    4. Use acidic gels to remove excessive layers. Some acidic gels such as Nonyx gel can be used to remove the excessive layers of the nails that have built up. The high Ph of the gel will help kill off any infections in the area when gently removing the debris that has built up on the top of the nail.

    Table 1 Treatments for Thick Toenails

    Medical Treatments

    A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections


    Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.

    They may suggest:

    • antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
    • nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off

    The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.

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    Stop Stubbing Your Toe

    Repeatedly injuring your toes many also lead to thick, cracking toenails. Any time you damage a nail bed, it has to repair itself. The nail may lift away from the skin, and new cells may accumulate underneath the nail. Usually, the attached nail prevents this from happening. In the worst-case scenario, the nail may completely detach from the toe.

    Athletes, especially runners and dancers, are prone to toenail injuries. To prevent a problem from forming, always wear comfortable shoes that leave plenty of room in the toe box. Keep your nails trimmed, and report any signs of damage to a doctor right away.

    Happy Birthday To You

    A lesser-known cause of thick toenails is old age. As your body matures, the growth rate of your nails decreases and cells pile on the surface. While there isnt much you can do to prevent these changes, you can buff and file your nails to remove any new cells. Go ahead and treat yourself to that pedicure on your next birthday.

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