Thick Toenails Treatment: Should You Go to a Doctor?

thick toenails treatment

What Are Thick Toenails?

Are you into running or exercising? Most people get their daily exercise by jogging around the neighborhood or walking while enjoying nature.

While these activities are generally safe, there are still times when problems occur.

Something that can really bother you while working out or running are thick toenails. While they are not exactly life-threatening, they can still make you feel uncomfortable and unattractive.

But you do not need to worry much about it, because this condition is treatable. Check out our thick toenails treatment advice below!

Do you think you have thick toenails? Let’s have a look.

This is a condition that is common among runners. The running motion and its impact frequently result in thick toenails. All toes are different, but the standard thickness of a toenail is about 3 millimeters.

People who have jogged for many years may notice that their toenails thicken. Some toenails can even become 1 centimeter thick.

Are Thick Toenails That Bad?

  • ​Yes and no. For some people, they look bad and can even cause severe pain. But even if they're not painful, looking at them can be quite distressing.
  • Should I be concerned? If you think your toenails are infected then it would be a good idea to see a doctor immediately. Leaving an infection untreated anywhere in the body will result in further problems. If your toenails are infected, it could be difficult to walk and run after some time. Untreated infections can quickly spread and, in extreme cases, reach body parts that are far from the affected area. They can even lead to severe health problems.
  • If your toenails are not infected and not causing any pain, then the only problem you might face is possessing less attractive toes. However, if you don’t treat them, they will get thicker. While this isn’t an immediate health problem, waiting years before you do something about it could make it much harder to treat later on. Thus, some runners would rather do something about it as soon as possible. The question is, can we treat thick nails? Certainly!
  • But first, let's discuss what will happen if thick toenails are left untreated. If you neglect your thick toenails, they will begin to become narrow as well. They lose their smooth and flat surface and turn into thick, narrow, and tiny strips. They can also sometimes appear black and become infected with fungi. While the color is not an immediate indicator of an infection, it could be in some cases. Hence, it would be worth paying attention to your toes, especially if you are concerned with the condition of your feet.
thick-toenail-treatment

What Are the Causes of Thick Toenails?

  • Toes can thicken due to a number of different factors. The most common is a fungal infection, but it’s not always the reason.
  • For some people, age is the culprit as the body loses its ability to function and renew itself.
  • For runners, the problem is the repeated impact of constant contact with the ground. Despite the fact that runners are somehow protected by their running shoes, the physical activity may still be traumatic to the toes. Such trauma causes the nail to start separating from the toe. As they separate, nails lose their flat, smooth, thin, and tiny shape and close up into a ball, becoming harder and thicker with time.
  • Did you know that your toes can get jammed a little bit inside your shoes? This can worsen if one wears shoes that are too big. Imagine the toes hitting the inside of the shoe over a certain period. If this continues, the cells located at the base of the toes called the nail matrix will grow gradually and the toenails will deteriorate. The nails grow differently, resulting in thicker or misshaped toenails.

Thick Toenails Treatment

Check out this video on thick toenails treatment and see the proper way of cutting thick fungal toenails. Still, we do not encourage you to try this at home. (Use automatic captions to translate to English)

Treating your thick toenails: 

  • Simply using an emery board or nail file can immediately reduce the thickness of your toes. This is the first and easiest thing to do.
  • If your condition is caused by a fungal infection then there are two common ways of treating it. You can turn to an anti-fungal medicine, which comes in two forms. It is either taken orally or applied locally to the infected area. Anti-fungal medications are usually prescribed by a doctor.
  • Laser removal, which is quick and painless, is another effective treatment. If you choose this option, you’ll have to follow up with some anti-fungal agents for some time.
  • If your toes thickened because of an injury, there are several options. The first and the easiest option is reducing the size of the nail plate, which is done by a doctor.
  • If it is very painful, the doctor may have to completely remove the nail from the toe, including the nail root.
  • If your nails are thickening due to another health issue, do not search for the treatment by yourself. Your toes should be examined and treated only by a doctor. Remember that this is not only a problem by itself, but also a symptom of a larger issue that must be treated by a professional to stop it from recurring.
  • If your toes are thick due to running, file them regularly. This will immediately thin them down.
  • If a nail file does not help in flattening the nail, you will most likely need a doctor to perform some special procedures such as adjusting the size of the nail plate.

This Hasn’t Happened Yet: Can I Prevent It?

Actually, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting thick toenails. Here are some easy tips:

  • Pay attention to your toes. Is the color of your skin or nail form changing? If so, the situation could get worse. Try to do your best to see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Trim nails flat but not too short.
  • File sharp edges on a regular basis.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. Ensure there is enough space for your toes.
  • Keep your shoelaces tight. If they are loose your foot can slide inside the shoe.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in high heels.

Consider the abovementioned advice if you have an active lifestyle. As we have said, activities that entail high impact and pressure on the feet can lead to thick toenails. This includes jogging, soccer, football, hockey, and dancing (tight-fitting dance shoes increase the chances of getting thick toenails).

Keep an eye out for signs early on if you are engaged in any of these activities. If you are not active then your chances of developing thick toenails are much slimmer.

But there is no guarantee, as you could still get an infection or injure your toe. Early detection is the best way to prevent thick toenails. A condition that is left neglected for too long can be difficult to treat.

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