How We Help At Our Podiatry Clinic
Phone our podiatry clinic and make an appointment to have your toenails assessed. Well determine the underlying cause for thickening toenails so that we can take immediate action toward a treatment plan. The sooner you get onto the problem, the better as nails left to thicken will become much harder to treat down the track.
Give one of our clinics a call on the numbers below and chat with our friend podiatry team to make an appointment.
What Causes Thick Nails
Although there are many potential causes of thick nails, in the toenails a fungal infection is the most common cause. Other diseases, such as psoriasis or diabetes, may also cause thick nails to develop. The exact cause of thick nails will help decide the treatment a person has to correct the condition.
Toenail Fungus Where You Can Catch It
Fungus loves and lives in warm, moist, dark places. Here are 5 of the most common places to catch it:
Visible Signs You Have a Fungal Infection
- scaling or flakiness under the nail
- white or yellow streaks on the nail
- a crumbling corner or tip of the nail
- the appearance of yellow spots at the bottom of the nail
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail
- loss of the entire nail
How to Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
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Home Remedies For Thick Toenails
Many people rely on home remedies as antifungal drugs can have side effects. The following are some home remedies to treat thick toenails,
1. Epsom Salts
Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate foot soak can be prepared and used 1-2 times a day. Doctors recommend using hot water mixed with Epsom salt to treat thick toenails.
2. Vicks VapoRub
Firstly, you need to trim and file your nails as much as possible. Secondly, you need to apply Vicks vapoRub twice a day and leave it for 10-15 minutes. This home remedy works for few people and it is highly recommended that you consult your dermatologist before trying them at home.
3. Vinegar treatment
Research and anecdotes suggest that vinegar is an effective remedy to treat thick toenails. A ratio of one part apple white vinegar and two parts warm water is recommended to reduce fungal growth and spread.
4. Tea tree oil
Applying tea tree oil to the affected and surrounding area softens the nail. Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties. Applying the oil regularly twice a day can significantly reduc thick nails.
Thick Toenails: Causes And Treatment
There are plenty of reasons as to why thick toenails form but there are many ways to combat them. Find out the causes and how to fix thick toenails.
Most nail techs have seen themthick toenails that resist easy clipping and may show signs of yellowing, the presence of fungus or other nail-related concerns.
By remaining aware of the problem and its possible causes, you have the ability to help these clients both at your station and between appointments with homecare suggestions. We spoke to medical experts to find out more about what causes thickened toenails and how to help people who have thick toenails when faced with the situation in your salon.
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What Causes Nail Fungus
As the name says, the disease is caused by fungi, which is a tiny parasitic organism that can be found in warm environments and feeds off of keratin. You know by now that keratin is the main protein in your nails, hair, and skin. Nail fungus makes too much of keratin in the nail bed, which thickens your nail as well it separates it from the nail bed. If you are experiencing this problem, you are about to learn a lot more about it. Did you know that your feet have got nearly 200 types of fungi? That is way more than anywhere else on your entire body but lucky for you, not all of these fungi are harmful. Two types of nail fungi exist, such as dermatophytes and yeasts.
What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis or nail fungus, is an infection underneath the nail bed caused by fungi. It can occur in fingernails as well, but its more common in toenails because its easier to catch in a warm, damp environment, like sweaty socks and shoes.
The fungi usually get into the nail through a small cut or crack in the nail. Older people are more susceptible to nail fungus because your nails get dryer as you get older, making them more brittle and likely to crack and let fungi in. Nail fungus can also spread from person to person, so its a good idea to wear shower shoes or sandals in locker rooms or around wet, damp areas like pools.
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Toenail Fungus Treatment: 3 Steps To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus Fast
Fungal infections that appear on the skin are one of the most common infections in humans. Many people are curious about natural toenail fungus treatment, as this is an issue that many folks struggle with. Few are aware that toenail fungus symptoms can actually be a sign of candida virus or yeast within your system.
Onychomycosis or tinea unguium is the name for the type of infection that causes the fungi to appear on the nails. This is caused by underlying fungal growth from dermatophytes, non-dermatophyte molds and yeasts .
With dietary changes, supplements and certain essential oils, you can treat and eliminate the root cause of the toenail fungus, even when youve been struggling with it for years. I will take you through the exact steps of how to get rid of toenail fungus fast and for good.
I can tell you my own mother struggled with toenail fungus on her big toe for over 10 years, and the reason why she originally got it and then continued to struggle with this fungus was the chemotherapy she went through when diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. After going through chemo, she had systemic yeast and candida issues and then developed the toenail fungus. The exact treatment I detail below is what we used with her to successfully erase her fungus.
How To Get Rid Of Thick Fungus Toenails
Venous stasis, or venous stasis dermatitis, is a condition commonly misdiagnosed as cellulitis.
This condition causes swelling, discoloration, and can develop into skin ulcers. It is the result of poor circulation in the lower limbs and typically affects the lower legs and ankles.
Unlike cellulitis, this condition can affect both sides of the body and is not the result of bacterial infection. However, should you develop sores or ulcers as a result of venous stasis, your risk of a skin infection will increase.
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Does Toenail Fungus Go Away On Its Own Are There Home Remedies
No, toenail fungus rarely goes away on its own. Despite mild symptoms that may go unnoticed for a long period of time, the infection is usually persistent and does not go away on its own. There are numerous home remedies for toenail fungus. You can try to apply baking soda, vinegar, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, or mentholated ointments to the affected area. However, its unclear how effective these remedies are. Baking soda likely helps simply by keeping the area dry without attacking the infection itself. In rare cases, this inhospitable environment may be enough to eliminate the infection. White superficial onychomycosis is much easier to treat with home remedies, while subungual infections are often more stubborn and may require medical treatment administered by a doctor.
In addition to at-home remedies, you can also buy over-the-counter anti-fungal ointments or creams. Trimming and filing the nail can be helpful, not only in removing accessible parts of the infection, but also so that anti-fungal ointments and creams can penetrate more deeply into the nail.
There is also a middle ground in which home remedies keep the infection from spreading but are unable to reduce and eliminate the established part of the infection. If the person stays diligent, the affected part of the nail may grow out. The bad news is that with larger, slow-growing toenails, this process can take as long as 12 months.
Baking Soda And Vinegar:
Because of the alkaline nature of baking soda, it can be used in preventing the growth and spread of fungus. Remember, fungus flourishes well in acidic environments. You will have to soak your feet in a mixture of vinegar and water first. Then afterwards, soak them in a mixture of water and baking soda so as to inhibit the growth and multiplication of the fungus which might be causing toenails to be thick. You need to repeat this remedy, twice in a day.
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Are Thick Toenails Always Fungus
Not all thick toenails are fungal. There is a misperception that thick toenails are always onychomycosis. Onychomycosis is a common toenail infection caused by dermatophytes, non-dermatophytes and mold that can worsen and become painful if left untreated.
What Is The Thick Stuff Under Toenails
Nail keratin debris results from a fungal infection of the nail. In medical terms this is called onychomycosis or tinea unguium, says Batra. The fungal infection breaks down the keratin in the nail to form a white or yellow chalky substance under the nail plate.
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Causes Of Keratin Build Up Under Toenails
The matrix is a part of nail bed which is not visible as it lies beneath the nail fold.
There are several causes that may lead to excess of keratin under the toe nail. One of the main causes is fungal infection in toe nail. Nail fungus destroys the keratin present in nail. Thus debris of keratin forms under the nail. Since the process is gradual and it does not cause pain, patient may not detect it until the nail becomes discolored or get separated from the nail bed.
Trauma to the toe nail or certain health conditions such as lichen planus, thyroid disease, side effects of medicines and chemical contact all can result in nail damage and subsequently a buildup of keratin beneath the nail. Usually, keratin debris develops only in one toe nail but sometimes more than one toenail is affected.
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When To See A Doctor
Since underlying conditions often cause thick nails, a person should consult a doctor if they notice their fingernails or toenails thickening or changing color. Someone with an underlying condition, such as diabetes or psoriasis, may well be treating it already.
People who experience yellow, thickened nails without knowing a reason for them, should talk to their doctor to be sure that it is only a fungal infection and nothing more serious.
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The Initial Causes Can White Toenails Be Caused By Something Besides Fungus
If you suspect that your nails are infected with fungus, it is best to consult your doctor and get a diagnosis. Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms and conduct a thorough examination of your nails. A biopsy is required to determine the cause of the infection. Various types of fungus are found in the skin, including the toenails. Among the most common forms of nail fungus are yellow and black, with white patches surrounded by dark brown or white spots.
The infection is caused by fungus. It can spread to the skin and other parts of the body. It is very common to find a nail fungus on the foot in elderly people, and it is often not treated until the condition gets worse. The disease can even be spread to the skin. The afflicted person should see a doctor immediately if they notice any changes in the color of his or her nails.
Nail fungus can occur in the toenails. The infection occurs due to a variety of factors, including excessive moisture, soaking your hands in water, and a lack of hygiene. If the afflicted person is prone to infection, the fungus will grow in the toenails and may spread to other parts of the body. Consequently, it is essential to prevent the nail fungus from spreading to the skin
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
Well, essentially its an imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria in your body. Just like with other health conditions that stem from gut-related problems, when you dont have enough good bacteria living within your gut, you wind up developing high levels of yeast and fungus in your body that can show up on your skin.
Besides poor gut health, other risk factors that can tip the scale in terms of an infection forming include:
- Having athletes foot
- Coming into contact with fungi, for example in nail salons, contaminated swimming pools, gyms and saunas
- Damaged nail beds
- Wearing dirty or tight shoes
- Skin conditions, such as psoriasis
- Circulation problems in the legs, from existing conditions like diabetes or artery disease
- A weakened immune system
- Genetic predisposition
In particular, fungal nail infections can be caused by three different types of fungus, either by themselves or in combination:
What Is The Treatment For Toenail Fungus
If home remedies dont do the trick, if the infection spreads, or if the nail becomes painful, brittle, or misshapen, you need to see the doctor. There are several treatment options available. More than likely, you will be prescribed an oral medication. Terbinafine and itraconazole are two of the more popular and evidence-based treatments. Terbinafine is especially common for dermatophyte-based toenail fungus. Serious but rare side effects include liver damage and allergic reactions. Your doctor may prescribe an alternative to terbinafine if liver damage is a concern. However, nearly all anti-fungal medications have some level of hepatotoxicity.
A podiatrist will be also able to trim and file the nail more completely than the average person. More serious cases of toenail fungus may involve temporary or permanent toenail removal. A podiatrist can cut out the hardened nail while leaving the cuticle and underlying nail matrix. This directly removes the infection in the nail itself, while also allowing for direct access to treat the underlying skin with anti-fungal treatments while the nail grows back. In rare cases, laser treatment may be an option, but this isnt covered by most insurance policies.
Health Implications Of Thick Yellow Toenails
The majority of the time, people will just wear shoes and leave the infection untreated. This might be okay for a while and not have any effects on your health in the short term if you are healthy and young.
But people with a weaker immune system , are more susceptible to yellow toenails. Studies have shown that about one in 24 cases have seen the infection move to other parts of the body. It is normally limited to the feet but has been reported to spread to the back, hands and legs, especially in older patients even if they are not on any medication.
Nail fungus itself can cause cracks in the skin and nail which are an invitation for other types of bacteria to route their way into the body. This can be a serious problem for people suffering from more concerning health problems such as diabetes, diabetic neuropathy and more. It has even been blamed for amputations in diabetic patients.
Now this is starting to sound a little more troublesome than just being unsightly!
These are quite extreme examples but you can never be too careful. If you are ever in doubt about your overall health and fungal infections you should definitely consult your doctor.
The good news is that thick yellow toenails can be treated in a number of ways, some more effective than others which we will go through ahead.
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When To See A Doctor For Discolored Nails
Most of the time, discolored toenails can be treated with over-the-counter medicines or items you already have at home. However, you may need to make an appointment with a dermatologist if you suspect a severe fungal infection or have other symptoms besides toenail discoloration. If you experience bleeding, sharp pain, or swelling, contact your doctor.
For more information about treating discolored toenails, contact the UPMC Department of Dermatology or call 412-647-4200.