What are Thickened Nails?

Thickened nails are also known as Onychauxis nails. This is an abnormal thickening of the nail which is quite a common condition. The big toenail is the most commonly affected. Cutting the nail becomes very difficult and pressure from shoes can cause this condition to become painful.

This condition can progress and leave the nail bed tender and sore, leading to wounds and infection.

What causes it?
  • A major trauma or repeated pressure from shoes on long nails.
  • Fungal infection of the nails or skin diseases.
  • Poor circulation, particularly in elderly people.
  • Psoriasis, eczema and a number of other systematic diseases can affect the toenails.
What will happen if I leave it untreated?

Left untreated, thickened nails can start to curl and can turn a yellowy, brown colour. We often see the nails when far too much damage has occurred and the nail bed underneath the nail becomes infected and sores and wounds occur.

A professional opinion from a Podiatrist should be sought to ensure that there are no underlying problems which have caused the nails to thicken.

What can help?
  • Correctly trimming your nails. Cut them straight across and do not round the corners of the nail.
  • Wear good fitting shoes with ample room for toes and nails.
  • Try to avoid shoes with a small toe box such as pointed shoes.
  • Seek help from a professional such as a Podiatrist if you are experiencing problems with your feet.
What are the treatment options?

It is essential that thickened nails are managed with routine chiropody treatment.

A podiatrist can reduce the thickness of the nails and keep them to a reasonable length.

If the nails have become thickened due to a fungal infection your Podiatrist may recommend the prescription of oral or topical anti-fungal medication. Laser Treatment has also proven beneficial.

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