Why Are My Toenails So Thick? How to Fix Yellowing Nails at Home
We don’t often give a lot of thought to the health of our toenails, until we think there might be some kind of problem or abnormality going on with them. And when there is, we don’t seem to realize it right away or ignore it.
It’s not uncommon to avoid treating foot issues that you can’t necessarily see or feel right away, but the issue with that, is by the time we do end up noticing them, the ‘problem’ has already grown, and can be harder to treat. If you’re currently wondering ‘why are my toenails are so thick?’, there are a few things to keep in mind when finding the answer.
First of all, thick toenails are definitely something you’ll notice – you won’t have to be ‘curious’ about wondering if your nails have thickened or not, because once they have, it’s impossible to ignore. You may have a difficult time trimming them, and most of all, the hardening and thickening of toenails typically goes along with yellowing, as well. Typically, it won’t be all of your toenails hardening, either, but one or two.
Again, there are a few possible reasons for toenails being thick and yellow. Fortunately, most of them are treatable with the right solutions, and with time. Let’s take a look at why toenails can get so thick in the first place, and how to fix yellowing nails at home.
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What Causes Thick Toenails?
The most common reason for thick, yellow toenails is usually some type of fungal infection. It will typically first appear as some kind of brown or black ‘dot’ on the surface of the toenail, but it can quickly spread and grow, before most people even realize what it is.
And yes, one of the major symptoms is the hardening and thickening of the toenail, causing it to become brittle. Nails can sometimes crack, or even break off depending on the severity of the fungus.
That ‘dot’ will quickly grow as well, and most people who have nail fungus will notice a yellowing of the nail, though it can sometimes even turn green, or black. Sometimes toenail fungus can be more painful for some than others, but if you’re experiencing pain of any kind along with these other symptoms, it’s a good sign that you’ve contracted an infection somehow.
If you’ve been barefoot in a public shower, visited a nail salon, experienced athlete’s foot, etc., it’s important to consider where your fungus may have come from, and when you could have picked it up.
Fungus isn’t an uncommon condition by any means. In fact, about half of all nail issues are toenail infections. Thankfully, there are several effective treatment options for a toenail fungus, which we’ll discuss later.
Other possible causes for thick toenails include actual trauma to the nail or toe. This can be anything from a pedicurist accidentally getting underneath the nail bed with a tool, to wearing a pair of shoes too tightly, so the nail continuously rubs against it. This can encourage a fungus to occur, since the cause for infection typically comes from moisture getting trapped underneath the nail. Since the environment there is warm and moist, it makes it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so the infection can grow and thrive.
Finally, there are also several medical conditions that can contribute to thick toenails, like diabetes, which can cause poor blood flow and circulation, making it easy for your nails to become hardened. Experts don’t believe that it’s hereditary.
If you don’t feel as though you have toenail fungus, and you’re concerned about thick toenails, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor to get any possible medical conditions ruled out.
How to Fix Thick, Yellow Nails at Home
Because nail fungus is so common, there are plenty of ways to treat it, and while many of those treatment options can include prescription medical care, over the years, there have been more and more discoveries of home remedies and over the counter solutions that can fight back against the problem of thick, yellow nails at home.
If your nails are causing a lot of pain due to their thickness, your first step might be to visit a podiatrist, who can help to trim your nails. Of course, you can try to do this yourself, but you might find it even more painful, and if you have a fungal infection, it’s important to be extremely careful when clipping your nails, so you don’t agitate the infection even more.
Best Over-the-Counter Treatments for Toenail Fungus
Choosing the right product to use at home for your thick nails can be somewhat overwhelming when you’re browsing the pharmacy, because there are so many options, thanks to the frequency of this problem for a lot of people.
However, a good rule of thumb is to do a bit of research before you buy. These topical solutions typically come in the form of lotion, cream, or spray, so see what other people have been saying about different products, and how closely their situation may have related to yours. Online reviews on most products are easy to find nowadays. Any product with ‘anti-fungal’ properties is always a good choice!
If you do decide to buy an over-the-counter product to fight back against thick, yellow nails, be sure to use the entire treatment that comes in the box/bottle. It may look after a few days or weeks that the fungus has cleared up, but toenail fungus can easily return, and it’s not something you’ll want to have to deal with again and again. Finishing up the treatment will at least help to ensure that the infection is totally gone.
Home Remedies for Thick & Yellow Nails
There are also an incredible amount of at-home, DIY solutions for toenail fungus, and different treatments work for different people. Most of these options come from nothing but natural ingredients, or things you might already have around your house, so don’t be afraid to try a few of them out if you feel one isn’t working.
Some of the most common natural home remedies for toenail fungus include:
Tea Tree Oil: Known as an antiseptic and natural antifungal solution, tea tree oil is one of the best solutions people tend to use at home to treat toenail fungus. Just apply the oil to the affected nails, let it soak in, and repeat daily until the infection has cleared up. Just like the over the counter treatments, continue to use tea tree oil on your nails for at least two weeks after the infection appears to be gone.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Another antiseptic, apple cider vinegar is one of the easiest ways to fight back against toenail fungus. Just soak your toes in the solution for about 10 minutes each day, and rinse clean.
Coconut Oil: Aside from being great for your skin, coconut oil also has properties that can break through the thick cell walls of the fungus, and once those walls have been penetrated, they are without the sort of ‘protection’ they need. Without that protection, healing can can really begin as the cells of the fungus start to dissolve. To use coconut oil for toenail fungus, simply rub it over the infected area(s) and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse away.
There are dozens of other natural home remedies to choose from when you’re trying to treat toenail fungus, so feel free to look up a natural remedy that you feel will work best for you – you may not even have to leave your house to find all of the right ingredients!
Make Sure That You’re Treating Toenail Fungus
Again, the most important thing you can do if you notice your toenails becoming hard, thick, and yellowing, is to figure out the main reason behind it. While it is probably the most common reason, ruling out other possibilities to make sure it’s not something more serious is vital.
If you do have a toenail fungus, seeing a doctor or podiatrist is always a good option, especially if you’ve never gone through it before. Not only can they offer you medical treatment, such as laser treatment, but they can give you some helpful tips on how to take care of the infection, so you can be rid of it as soon as possible. Be aware that toenail fungus does not go away on its own, and if left alone, it can keep growing, and causing more problems.
So, if you ever wonder why your toenails are thick, consider what might be causing it, and know your treatment options when it comes to fixing yellowing nails at home.