Oh My! What a Thick ToeNail You Have…


I have talked in the past about toenail fungus and things that can be done to get your toenails looking healthy again.
But did you know that just because your toenail has become very thick it does not mean that you have toe- nail fungus?
Yes, you read that right, your toe nail becoming very thick does not mean that you have toenail fungus.

Reasons why your toenail can thicken.

1.        Injuries
2.       Skin conditions
3.       Poor circulation
4.       Toenail fungus
Toenail thickening due to injuries
Yes, dropping a hammer on your toe can cause your toenail to thicken as a result of the injury. The thing is, it does not have to be something that dramatic. Many runners or soccer players will see that the toenail will thicken due to the repetitive striking of the toenail against their shoes. But it can happen even if you are just walking. If you shoes are not fitted correctly, your toe can be injured by the repetitive striking of the toe to shoe and you may not know it.  It can also happen due to the terrain where you are walking. If you are walking downhill frequently, your toes can get pushed to the end of the shoe and set you up of repetitive strikes against the nail.
Also, if you wear shoes that you slip your foot into rather than tie shoes, your foot can be moving around enough in the shoe to cause injury to your toe nail.
Toenail thickening due to skin conditions
Certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can affect the nail and the surrounding skin.  If you suffer from psoriasis, there is a 50 percent chance that you will have problems with your toenails and if you have psoriatic arthritis, there is an 80 percent chance.  Psoriasis and eczema can cause the skin around the nail to become inflamed or irritated. Over time, this irritation can cause the nail to thicken.
Toe nail thickening due to poor circulation
As we age, the blood flow to our toes can be affected. This aging along with repetitive daily injuries from rubbing can result in thickening of the nail. If you have a disease like diabetes, the chances are high that the blood flow to your feet will be affected and that in turn can affect your toe nail.
Toenail thickening due to nail fungus
Toenail fungus is fairly common. Not wearing foot protection in public showers or swimming pools is a source for the fungus. Toes are susceptible due the dark warm places they frequent.
Interestingly, people will go to their friendly local podiatrist thinking that they have toenail fungus when there is a different reason for their thickened toenail. If you have a thick toenail but your nail is not discolored at all, then fungus may not be among us!
Trimming thick toenails
Trimming thick toenails can be difficult. I will give you some tips to help but if you find that it is too hard for you to do yourself, rather than injure the toenail any further, I suggest that you go to see your friendly local podiatrist to help you. The doctor can examine your toe nail to determine the cause and help you take care of the nail in the best possible manner.
1.       Soak toes for about 10 minutes in warm soapy water
2.       Dry your toes and nails
3.       Use an emery board or file
4.       Trim the nail straight across. It may be that you need to use a trimmer rather than a clipper and take small pieces so that you don’t splinter the nail.
5.       Do not push the cuticle back.
Is there a cure?
Frankly, it depends on the cause and your pain level. If you are not in any pain and maintain the nail yourself, then you may not look for a cure.  If you can determine the problem (repetitive striking of the toe nail) and can make the necessary adjustments, then the toenail will improve over time.
If you are in pain, then it is time to go to the doctor and see what treatment the doctor recommends. As far as a cure, it will depend on the reason for your thick toenails.  In cases like poor circulation, the doctor will probably be able to help you be pain free but the source of the problem (poor circulation) is not something the doctor can fix.
Somehow it has gotten to be September already. I am not sure how time can fly so fast but it really does. I have been hearing commercials for pumpkin this and pumpkin that. Another school year has started. I hope you had a great summer and are looking forward to a crisp fall.
Your Pal,
The Foot Blogger Chick


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