Why do I have thick toenails?
Thick toenails are a common problem for many people and they are often mistaken for fungal nail infections.
Thickening of your toenails are commonly caused by trauma.
Trauma to your toenails can be caused by dropping something heavy on your toe, stubbing toes against furniture or by pressure in your shoes.
Trauma to your toenail leads to inflammation.
Inflammation irritates your nail bed causing your nail to add more layers to itself. As layers are added to your nails dust and other pollutants become trapped in the nail. Which will make your nail appear yellow/brown as is the case with any other nail infection.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Nails are difficult to cut
- Brittle nails that break easily
- Nails that look like they are loose or lifting
- Nails look dirty
- Tender and painful when pressure is applied to your nail
Could it be more?
If your toenail thickens it could be a sign of:
- Yellow nails syndrome (caused by lung problems)
- Arteriosclerosis ( commonly a result of aging)
- Fungal nail infections should not be ruled out
What are the complications of having thick toenails?
The abnormal pressure on the nail can lead to ingrown toenails.
Ingrown nails can lead to secondary bacterial infections.
Secondary infections to the nail plate. Fungi, bacteria and viruses can become trapped in the nail leading to infections of the nail bed.
If the nail lifts enough it can fall off on its own.
Treatment for thickened toenails.
If you have any concerns regarding the health of your nails you should see a healthcare professional such as a podiatrist.
At the consultation a sample of your nail should be taken and send for lab study to check if there is a secondary infection or not.
The nail is usually trimmed with specialized equipment by the podiatrist.
The nail can be debrided and cleaned by the podiatrist.
A topical anti-inflammatory can be applied to the nail which can help an new nail to grow out healthy.