damaged toenails

Beyond the Bling: Why Thick Toenails Deserve More Than Just a Pretty Polish

June 10, 20242 min read

Let's talk toes! As a podiatrist, I see all sorts of feet, and let me tell you, thick toenails are a common concern. We all want our toes to look sandal-ready, but sometimes those nails can become unsightly and, frankly, a bit embarrassing. But hold on a sec, before you reach for another coat of polish to hide the issue, let's dig a little deeper.

Because thick toenails, can be a sign of something more than just a lack of TLC (tender loving care) for your feet. That's right, there can be some underlying medical reasons lurking beneath the surface.

So, what are some of the medical culprits behind thickened toenails?

  • Fungal foes: Yep, the dreaded fungus is a top contender. It loves warm, moist environments, and guess what? Your shoes can be the perfect breeding ground. This fungal infection, called onychomycosis (say that ten times fast!), can cause thickening, discoloration, and even crumbling of the nail.

  • Psoriasis party crasher: This chronic skin condition can affect your nails too, leading to thickening, pitting, and separation from the nail bed.

  • Injury woes: Stubbed a toe one too many times? Repeated trauma to the nail can cause it to thicken and become distorted.

  • Thyroid troubles: An underactive or overactive thyroid can impact your whole body, including your nails. Thickening can be a sign of an underlying thyroid issue.

Here's the thing: Thick toenails aren't just an aesthetic concern.

Depending on the cause, they can be painful, make it difficult to wear shoes, and even increase your risk of ingrown toenails. That's why it's important to get a proper diagnosis from a podiatrist like myself.

Now, I'm not saying to ditch the polish completely! A nice pedicure can be a confidence booster, but remember, it's just a temporary fix. If you're noticing thickened toenails, don't ignore them.

Here's what you can do:

  • Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist. We can get to the root of the problem and recommend the best course of treatment, whether it's antifungal medication, topical creams, or even laser treatment for stubborn cases.

  • Practice good foot hygiene. Keep your feet clean and dry, and wear properly fitted shoes that breathe.

Remember, healthy feet are happy feet!

So, next time you notice a thickened toenail, take it as a sign to give your feet some extra TLC. Schedule an appointment with Peak Podiatry, and let's get those toes looking and feeling their best, both under the polish and beyond!

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Robert Meagher

Robert Meagher, Podiatrist at Peak Podiatry, Galway

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