Thick And Yellow Toenails: Symptoms, Causes, As Well As Simple Methods Of Treatment And Prevention

Date August 6, 2018

Many people consider thickening and yellowing toenails a minor cosmetic issue. However, this common condition can not only be associated with fungal infections, as it is commonly believed but also have far more serious causes and consequences.

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Symptoms you shouldn't ignore

Health and attractive appearance of nails depends on many factors. The change in color and density of the nail can be caused by external influences or can signalize various pathological processes in the body.

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Proper treatment always begins with determining the specific cause of the altered state of the nail, and the following symptoms can help us with that:

  • brittle and fragile nails;
  • unpleasant odor;
  • separation of the nail from the nail bed (onycholysis);
  • difficulties in cutting the toenails;
  • frequent cracks;
  • pain or discomfort;
  • appearance of scaling on the nail plate;
  • yellowing of the nail.

READ ALSO: 6 Natural Ways To Get The Healthiest Nails: From Apple Cider Vinegar To Biotin

Causes of the nail problems and risk factors

There are 8 most common causes of any changes in the density and color of the nail plate. Let's take a closer look at these issues.

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1. Injuries

Because of an injury, the surface of the nail may change the shade or structure. You can damage your toenails either while playing sports and wearing wrong shoes. However, there's one more way - you can accidentally hit something with your toenail.

2. Poor blood circulation

Insufficient blood flow prevents the nails from getting enough of the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals for their health. In particular, this condition is often found in people with diabetes.

3. Psoriasis

Contrary to popular belief, psoriasis in some cases affects not the skin, but the toenails. The disease leads to their thickening and separation from the nail bed. You can prevent the risk of the problem by following the basic principles of foot care and hygiene.

4. Eczema (dermatitis)

Eczema can also cause yellowing and thickening of the nail plate. Look for the slower growth of the toenails, as well as the change in pigmentation. These symptoms typically indicate eczema.

READ ALSO: Woman With World’s Longest Nails Sets A Guinness Record

5. Fungal and yeast infections

Various fungal infections often affect the toenails, resulting in their yellowing due to the fact that they develop well in a warm and humid environment. To avoid this unpleasant issue, it is necessary to monitor the condition of your footwear and to avoid a direct contact of bare feet with potentially dangerous surfaces, especially in public places (swimming pools, saunas, etc.).

6. Paronychia

Paronychia is an inflammatory process of the area around the toenail. It can lead to the thickening of the nails and occurs in a number of cases due to constant contact with the environment that contributes to the development of bacteria. The condition, in particular, if passed into a chronic form, also worsens fungal infections.

7. Yellow nail syndrome

This rare disease changes the structure and color of the nail plate and often is accompanied by swelling of the extremities and respiratory problems, in particular, shortness of breath. Doctors don't know what exactly causes the development of this syndrome. However, it is believed that the main factor is a genetic predisposition,

8. Aging

Caused by age-related changes in the body, a decrease in the intensity of regenerative processes contributes to the build-up of the nail mass. This can be one of the reasons for thickening of the nails.

Additional risk factors include the following ones:

  • professional sports that increase the risk of injury;
  • constant exposure to humid environments;
  • wearing wrong shoes (for example, too tight);
  • smoking;
  • weak immune system;
  • minor injuries;
  • conditions like type 1 and 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, etc.

When should you visit a doctor?

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Even a slight change in the state of the nail plate is a good reason to visit a doctor. The specialist will be able to prescribe the proper treatment if you are dealing with a simple fungal infection or recognize a more serious disease by the symptoms you're experiencing.

Preventative measures

As you know, it is better to prevent the problem than trying to solve it. To minimize the risk of the developing toenail diseases, try to follow these simple rules.

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  1. Do not neglect good hygiene - wash your feet thoroughly, and dry them afterwards.
  2. Do not wear the same pair of socks for several days in a row. New day - clean socks.
  3. Carefully approach the choice of your shoes. They should allow your feet to breathe and not exert excessive pressure on the nails.
  4. Minimize the skin contact with any potentially hazardous surfaces in public places.
  5. Take care of your shoes and keep them well dried.
  6. Make sure that your pedicurist follows the rules of hygiene and works only with pre-sterilized tools.

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If you noticed a change in the structure and color of the toenails, the following measures are recommended:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully, without injuring the delicate skin, cut the nails with tweezers and align the contour with a nail file.
  • Register for a consultation with a doctor and follow his recommendations,

Helpful home remedies

There are also many effective home remedies for getting rid of the problem. Before using them, though, you should also consult with a specialist in order to not to worsen the condition.

1. Apple cider vinegar

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The antiseptic properties of apple cider vinegar allow it to effectively combat a large spectrum of pathogens of fungal infections. Mix the vinegar and warm water 1:1 and soak your feet for around 30 minutes. Do not forget to rinse and dry your feet thoroughly after the procedure. The effect of treatment can be noticed within 10 - 15 days.

2. Garlic

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Garlic is known to have antioxidant and antifungal properties, so it can become the perfect solution to the problem of thick and yellow toenails. Mix one tablespoon of garlic oil, which can be bought in any pharmacy, with one tablespoon o apple cider vinegar. Use a cotton ball to apply the remedy to the damaged surfaces and the skin around toenails. It is best to soak the toes in advance and to perform the procedure right before going to bed.

3. Vinegar and baking soda

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The baths based on vinegar and baking soda can also help you to effectively cope with fungal infections of the toenails. It is recommended to repeat the procedure twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. Prepare 2 containers, the first of which will be an equal mixture of vinegar and warm water, whereas the second will contain a strong solution of backing soda. Soak your feet for 10 -15 minutes in the first bath, and the skin is softened, take the second one. Backing soda can stop the growth and multiplication of the pathogen.

4. Essential oils

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Some essential oils have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, healing and restorative properties. Apply them to the affected nails and the skin around them regularly (at least 2 times a day), and wait for the complete absorption. The most effective are the oil of tea tree, coconut, orange and oregano.

Yellowing and thickening toenails is a fairly common problem. In order to get rid of the condition, you need to identify its cause. We hope that these simple tips will help you restore the health of your toenails, as well as learn how to prevent related diseases, because it is not that difficult! Take care and stay healthy!

Source: ePainAssist, MedicalNewsToday, PositiveMed

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.