Thick toenails are typically painless, but if you leave them to grow too long, they can be uncomfortable. Sometimes, they could be a sign of a fungal infection, an injury, or a skin condition like psoriasis.
You may be wondering: What causes them, and do you need special toenail clippers for thick nails? Keep reading to learn more about thick toenails and what you can do about them.
Reasons your toenails may be thick
Ageing is the most common cause of thick toenails. As we age, the growth rate of the nail plate slows down, leading to naturally thicker nails. However, thickened toenails can also indicate other underlying conditions, such as:
- Psoriasis - This skin condition accelerates the production of skin cells, resulting in a build-up on the skin's surface, including the nails.
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes - Constantly wearing shoes that are too tight can exert pressure on the toenails, leading to thickening over time.
- Fungal infections (onychomycosis) - Fungi can infect the toenails, causing them to thicken, become discoloured, and potentially become brittle or crumbly.
- Trauma or injury to the toes - Any form of trauma or injury to the toes, such as stubbing or dropping something on the foot, can damage the nail matrix and result in thickened toenails.
Trim thick toenails safely
Thick toenails are harder to cut with regular nail clippers, so you might need toenail clippers for thick nails. But don’t just cut away, even with special tools. Here are some tips to help you trim thick toenails safely and avoid other problems like ingrown toenails:
- Soak your feet in warm water for five to ten minutes to soften the skin.
- Use a soft, clean towel to dry your feet after a soak.
- Use high-quality toenail clippers for thick nails. Make sure they’re ergonomic and lightweight so they are easy to handle.
- Trim the nails from the corner with small, straight cuts across. This way, you can avoid splintering.
- Don’t round the edges of your nail with toenail clippers to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Gently smooth the sharp edges with a nail file.
- Be careful when cutting, especially if you have poor circulation, diabetes, or reduced sensation in the feet.
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