Understanding Thickened Toenails

Thickened toenails example | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Thickened toenails are a common complaint among our patients. As seen above, these are toenails where the nail itself becomes thicker and brittle, and may even start crumbling. They may also have yellow or brown discoloration, and are usually painful when wearing closed-toe shoes. They will also be difficult to cut, due to the thickening. 

What causes Thickened Toenails?

  • Fungal infections are the most common cause of thickened toenails
  • Underlying conditions like psoriasis which also causes thickened toenails, or diabetes
  • Direct trauma
  • Ill-fitting shoes that press on the toes

How not to treat Thickened Toenails

  • Pharmacies may provide anti-fungal oral or topical medications, but these are not always effective especially in severe cases.
    • Oral medications may also have harmful side-effects.

Best Thickened Toenails Treatment

  • Prevention is better than cure as fungal infections can worsen quickly.
    • Keep your shoes and feet clean and dry, as fungi thrive in wet, dark environments like sweaty shoes.
    • Rock-climbers in particular need to be careful, as the synthetic material used for specialized rock-climbing shoes makes it difficult to keep them fungi-free.
  • Generally, thickened toenails caused by fungal infections can be cured through treating the fungal infection itself.
    • In the worst-case scenario, if the infection has spread to the nail bed, the nail itself may have to be removed to treat the nail bed. Afterwards, it may take up to 12-18 months for the nail to grow back.

While prevention is the best cure, early treatment is vital. If you’re having issues with thickened toenails, book a consultation with us today to see what should be done for your situation.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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