Not All That Glitters is Fungus

Today, let’s talk about thick toenails. Have you ever heard that saying that “not all that glitters is gold?” That saying can apply to toenails too. What?  You don’t see how it can possibly?  How about this?
Not all thick toenails are caused by fungus.
Really. Just because you have thick toe nails does not mean that you have toenail fungus. There are other causes for thick toe nails.
W H A T?
Yes, believe it or not, there are several other causes for thick toe nails.
Why do I care about having thick toe nails?
Well, possibly you don’t. On some level you must wonder about it because it is not easy to take care of thick toe nails. Thick toenails can be painful. If that is the case, then you probably care about why they hurt and what can be done to help them. Also, they are not very attractive.
How did I get thick toenails?
There are several reasons why toenails thicken.
1.     Trauma – the toe nail is either injured by a falling object or continual rubbing. It does not necessarily have to be some big painful event. It can be the continual rubbing of your toe nail against your shoe. For example, with slip on shoes (in contrast to tie shoes) the shoes can be looser and and your  foot may move around more and the toenails have a greater opportunity to rub against your shoes. This continual rubbing will cause damage that results in thickened toenails.
2.    Skin conditions –  Those people with psoriasis or eczema can affect the skin around the nails and the nails themselves. People with psoriatic  arthritis can have as much of an 80 percent chance of having thickened toenails.
3.    Poor circulation – Aging and certain diseases like diabetes will affect the blood flow to the feet. Any reduction in the blood flow can affect the heath of the toenails.
4.    Fungus – as discussed earlier, this is what most people will blame for their thickened toenails. Interestingly, to run a culture to see if you have toenail fungus, the doctor will need to cut a piece of your nail.
What do I do about this?
If you are in pain or you don’t like the way your toenails look, you can go visit your friendly local podiatrist and have the doctor check your feet. The doctor will have some conservative treatments for helping with your thick toenails. If you are having trouble cutting your toenails, the doctor can give you some instruction for the the best way to do it. By keeping your toenails in good condition, you may be able to reduce the thickness of the nail.
If you don’t care about the appearance and you are not in pain, you might want to look at the causes listed above and see if you can tell why your toenails have thickened. If you think it is because of injury or the constant rubbing of your shoes on your toenails, you can wait to see if after correcting the situation your toenails will grow better. Please note that it will not be a quick fix  Toenails can take 12 – 18 months to regrow.
If, however you have diabetes, I urge you to go to your friendly local podiatrist to have your toenails checked. First of all, you should know why your toenails have thickened and see what you can do to correct the situation. People with diabetes need to be careful when cutting their toenails and if your nails are thick it is harder to cut them. While at the doctors, you can either have them cut your nails or ask them to show you the best way to do it. Please be careful so that you don’t cut your foot.
All in all, I think I would rather have gold – or even something that just glitters – than thickened toe nails. How about you?
Your pal,
The Foot Blogger Chick


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