Thickened toenails

Thickened toenails, or Onychauxis, is the abnormal thickening of the nail plate. While this can occur on both fingernails and toenails, it is more common in toenails, especially the big toenail. 

The symptoms of thickened toenails are similar to those of a fungal nail infection. Therefore, it is important to get checked out by one of our friendly podiatrists to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment for the correct condition.

Symptoms of thickened nails include:

  • Abnormal thickening of the toenail
  • A change in colour. The nail turning yellow, white or black in colour may indicate thickened toenails
  • Feeling additional pressure and/or pain in the top of the toe
  • Difficulty in trimming nails
  • Nails becoming brittle or crumbly
  • Nails rubbing against the shoe more than usual

Thickened toenails can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

1. Repeated or traumatic damage or pressure (from poorly fitting footwear or sport/work-related injuries)

2. Daily activities that put pressure on the nail can cause irritation and cause it to separate from the nail bed

3. The condition can also be hereditary (can be passed on genetically from parents)

4. Thickened toenails can also be caused by an underlying health issue, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Generally, any ailment that impacts blood flow and circulation may cause thickened toenails

5. Nails can naturally thicken due to age as metabolic factors and reduced blood flow can contribute to toenail thickening.

The treatment options for thickened toenails depend on how early you catch the condition and start treatment. 

If we manage to catch thickened toenails early on then the treatment options can be as simple as treating the infected area (if infection/fungus is present) and learning how best to trim your toenails to prevent thickening.

However, if thickened toenails have been present and untreated for some time, laser treatment may be the best option to get you back on your feet and doing what you love.  

At Footfocus Podiatry, we know that each and every one of us is different. That’s why your Footfocus podiatrist will advise you on the best course of action to take, tailored to you, to give you the best clinical outcomes. 

In some cases, such as where it is hereditary or due to underlying health issue, thickened toenails are inevitable. However, if you ensure that you trim your nails regularly and correctly, thickened toenails can be avoided in the future. 

To trim your toenails properly you should:

1. Soak your feet in warm water for at least ten minutes, make sure you dry them thoroughly afterwards. 

2. Use nail nippers. Start from the corner of the nail and cut in small straight lines across the top of your toenails. 

3. Gently file away any sharp or catching edges that may have been left behind from cutting. 

If you suspect you may have thickened toenails, without treatment, additional pressure and/ or pain can intensify and affect your mobility. Complications from thickened toenails, however, are rare. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, then do not hesitate to contact us and book an appointment with one of our highly skilled and friendly podiatrists

Book yourself a Podiatry appointment with one of our professional and friendly clinicians to prevent future foot concerns. Your health and happiness start from your feet up. Let us get you back on your feet! 

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