What Causes Thick Toenails?

what causes thick toenailsMany people look at their feet and wonder what causes thick toenails. You may notice that your toenails have gotten thicker over time. They may have even changed color. While a pedicure will mask the problem, you need to know the root cause to come up with a solution.

Say Hello to Toenail Fungus

In the majority of cases, fungal overgrowth is to blame for thick nails. Fungus can grow on your hands or feet, but it’s most common on toenails. Minor fungal infections may only cause a slight discoloration. However, if you don’t treat the problem fast enough, you may find yourself hiding your feet from others.

Here’s the good news—you can treat toenail fungus. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may be able to clear up the fungus with a topical cream. Sometimes, however, this treatment isn’t enough. Your podiatrist may need to inject a powerful anti-fungal medication directly into the nail bed. Fungal infections have a reputation for returning, so keep your feet dry and always wear shoes in communal showers.

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.

Pay Attention to Your Health

Some medical conditions affect the condition of your toenails. The most common are diabetes and psoriasis. Diabetics often have reduced blood flow to their feet, which may cause thicker toenails or numbness. With psoriasis, the nail may lift away from the toe.

Make sure you take good care of yourself to avoid complications of either diabetes or psoriasis. People with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels every day. Psoriasis patients may need to take immunosuppressant drugs to control outbreaks.

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 isn’t 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.

Seek Medical Care for Your Toenails

You should report any sudden change in the appearance of your toenails to a doctor. The sooner you diagnose and treat the problem, the quicker you’ll see results. Foot HealthCare Associates offers medical care for disorders of the foot and ankle. Our qualified team of doctors will listen to your needs and determine the best course of action. Schedule an appointment to begin a treatment plan now that you know what causes thick toenails.