Thickening and discoloration of the toenails are not very pleasant sites. There is no reason to be scared of this problem, because it is usually curable. It can, however, be bothersome when you try to cut your toenails or decide you want to wear open toe shoes.
Thickening of the toenails is usually followed by some discoloration. The toenail may turn to dark, green or even yellow, but some people also experience flakiness and splits on the nails as well. Patients may notice foul smell coming from affected toenails, as the result of thickening and buildup of broken nail parts under the nail itself. People suffering from psoriasis also frequently report tiny pits under the surface of the toenail.
Causes of Thick Toenails
Infections are the most common reason for thickening of toenails, especially those caused by fungi or yeast. Fungal infection of the toenails is known as onychomycosis and is seen as infection of the toenail bed and damaged protective surface of the nail. This problem is very often developed in moist and warm environment, such as the shoes or socks, where the fungi may grow without any interference.
Ill fitting shoes may also affect the toenail and cause thickening. This happens when people run or play some sports wearing such shoes and the nail gets rubbed against the shoe, leading to physical damage of the toenail. Nails may also get damaged if a person tries to bang something heavy or (in elderly) after some long term injuries. Skin diseases like psoriasis may also be presented as thickening of the toenails.
Available Treatments and Remedies
Physically damaged toenail doesn’t require any treatment, but some time, for the toenail to grow out. Toenail infections, on the other hand, have to be treated. Early treatments are your best bet, because this problem usually takes a lot of time, up to 3 months or even more. For this purpose, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic tablets, but also some anti-fungal liquids or creams for topical application. Proper hygiene of the feet and clean socks are precautionary measures, to ensure the infection doesn’t spread further.
Some home remedies, such as soaking in white vinegar and warm water or application of tea tree oil may also be helpful for thick toenails. Use some warm water and soak the feet for some 15 minutes or so. Clip the nails after that time and use a cotton ball dipped in some white vinegar to rub thick toenails. Most people reported improvements after repeating this process every day for some time.