Thickened toenails can cause extra pressure on the toes while wearing shoes, causing pain and increased risk of infection. Thick toenails are difficult to care for with regular nail trimmers and nail scissors.

As thickened nails are difficult to cut, people with diabetes, poor circulation, or reduced sensation, or those taking blood thinners should have their feet cared for by a foot care professional, to decrease risk of injury.


  • Our toe nails thicken and harden as we get older. Regular wear and tear on our feet because of our daily activities can cause the thickening of the nails. Circulation problems can also affect nail thickness.

  • Nail fungus can cause thickening of the nail.

  • Trauma such as stubbing the toe or dropping something on it can damage the nail bed and cause thickening of the nail.

  • Diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, to name a few, may affect the toenails.


Treatment by a Foot Care Professional

  • Reducing the thickness of the nail can help; this can be done with an emery board or file at home.

  • Very thick nails may need to be thinned by a foot care professional using a nail drill.

  • It is important to understand the cause of the thickening, for example nail fungus should be treated in order to see improvement. An anti-fungal product may be needed.

  • If injury or age is the cause of the thickened nail, you may need to have the thickness reduced on a regular basis by a foot care Professional.


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