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Common Causes of Thickened Toenails | Find Your Stride | Edinburgh Podiatrist

Thickened toenails, also known as onychogryphosis, is a common condition that can affect individuals of all ages. While thickened toenails may not always be a cause for concern, they can be unsightly and uncomfortable for those affected. In this blog post, we will explore the common causes of thickened toenails.


subungual haematoma
A thickened, discoloured 1st toe nail following trauma

One of the most common causes of thickened toenails is fungal infection. Fungal infections, such as toenail fungus (onychomycosis), can cause the nails to become thick, discoloured, and brittle. Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist environments, making the toes an ideal breeding ground. It is essential to seek treatment for fungal infections to prevent the condition from worsening and spreading to other nails.


Another common cause of thickened toenails is trauma or injury to the nail bed. Stubbing your toe or dropping a heavy object on your foot can result in damage to the nail bed, causing the nail to thicken and become distorted. It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience severe trauma to your toenail to prevent further complications.


In some cases, thickened toenails can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as psoriasis or diabetes. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin and nails, causing thickening, discolouration, and ridges on the nails. Diabetes can also lead to thickened toenails due to poor circulation. If you have diabetes or suspect you may have an underlying health condition, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Additionally, ageing can contribute to thickened toenails as the nails naturally thicken and become more brittle with age. Poor foot hygiene and wearing ill-fitting shoes can also increase the risk of developing thickened toenails. It is important to practice good foot hygiene, wear properly fitting shoes, and protect your feet to prevent thickened toenails.


In conclusion, thickened toenails can be caused by a variety of factors, including fungal infections, trauma, underlying health conditions, ageing, and poor foot hygiene. It would be sensible to seek medical advice if you experience thickened toenails to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. By taking care of your feet and practicing good foot hygiene, you can prevent the development of thickened toenails.


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