Thick skin under the toenails is often due to a fungal condition known as onychomycosis. Basically in this condition the toenails themselves appear thicker than normal and even appear as a yellow or brown discoloration. Onychomycosis syndrome can cause the skin to get thicken along the outer edge of the nail and directly underneath. And having thick nails is actually an unsightly condition that just not affect toenails but fingernails too. Thick toenails, if left untreated, get worsen causing pain. The potential cause behind thick nails are many. And so if you know them you can easily treat them if it develops.
In this article we have covered everything about thick skin under toenail. Check out the various home remedies, medical treatments, and nail care routine along with the prevention tips to avoid the occurrence of such condition.
What are Thick Toenails?
There are several layers of soft tissue present under the nail bed and beyond. These tissue is protected from the outer environment and various harmful agents by the fingernails and toenails acting as a strong barrier. These fingernails become the most used tool of common man for various tasks like scratching, opening lids of jars and bottles. And with the progress of ageing the nails start to become brittle and break down easily, and sometimes a condition develops where they become thick.
Rough and thick skin is uncomfortable and painful. Toes infected with fungus, which sometimes appear yellow and swollen are socially embarrassing and even lead to the loss of toenail. It also spreads from one toe to the other and so it is important that one knows about the cause of the problem so that it can be treated as soon as possible.
Diabetes or psoriasis like diseases also lead to the development of thick nails. But to go for the treatment one must be sure of the exact cause, and then further opt a specific cure.
What Causes Thick Skin under Toenails?
Onychomycosis affects about 20 percent of the population. And so when the yeast or the fungus enters the toenails though either a crack or a cut in the skin in contact with the toenail or at the junction of the nail bed and toenail, this condition happens.
Also if the condition is kind of damp or moist, then the rate of attack by a fungus increases even more. The initial infection soon worsens and spreads making your toenail grow thicker and thicker. Here are a few occupations and conditions who are at higher risk of developing thick skin under toenails.
Who is at More Risk for Developing Thick Toenails?
Some occupations are more prone to catch a fungal infection than others. So here are a few conditions which can cause more likely attraction of toenail fungus.
- Prolonged and frequent exposure to water.
- Roaming barefoot in public places like showers, swimming pools and gyms.
- Sweaty feet and shoes
- Ill fitting shoes that doesn’t allow your feet to breathe
- Damage, trauma or injury to toenail
- Athlete’s foot which can spread the fungus
- Immunosuppressive medications
Pre-existing medical condition like diabetes, circulatory problems and psoriasis also increases your chances to contact toenail fungus. Even cancer treatment increases the probability of catching nail fungus. And in the latter conditions it is important that you treat it as soon as possible, and inhibit the further growth because the conditions might worsen.
Symptoms of Thick Toenails?
Thick toenails due to white buildup underneath the can go unnoticed during the initial stage. But with time as the condition aggravates, and the thickness of the nails and skin under it changes, a person gets to know about the condition. The symptoms include-
- change in color the color of toenail from clear to yellow, green, or brown.
- a foul or bad odor starts coming from the toenail
- discomfort and pain is felt in the nails
- toenails lift up a little from the nail bed
- trimming or cutting them completely becomes difficult
- toenails split or crumble, becomes brittle and can be broken easily
- dirt and other debris gets collected under the toenails
- toenails look chalky and scaly in appearance
Nail Care Routine for Thick Skin Under Toenail
Keeping your feet clean and dry is one important step in preventing and curing the fungal attack. Since one cannot avoid the attack from microscopic organisms, you can incorporate this nail care routine. This five step process will definitely help you treat the infection from spreading.
Wash your feet everyday with warm water and antibacterial soap. After washing pat dry your feet and toes with an absorbent towel. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly, as moist areas are more prone to infection. Also pay close attention to the space in between the fingers.
Using toenail clippers cut your toenails properly in line just above the skin. Cut the toenails across in a straight way and using a nail file remove all the sharp edges giving your nail a smooth file.
Then apply to all the toenails an antifungal nail lacquer. You can apply one to two coats of the antifungal polish, once in a week. This will help to prevent the deep spread of the fungus from your toenails to underneath them. Most of antifungal lacquers will require you to produce a prescription, though there are some over-the-counter preparations also available that you can take.
Take the toenail fungus treatment cream and squeeze a pea-sized dollop of it onto your clean fingertips. Massage the cream uniformly over your toenails and on the thick skin both around and under the nails. Repeat this process twice daily. You can buy the toenail fungus creams from any pharmacy and grocery stores. For a stronger variety of fungus treatment cream you will require the doctor’s prescription.
Wait for about two weeks and observe if the thick white skin under your toenails disappears or reduces. If not then consult a physician for some oral or topical medication. A stronger prescription by the doctor will be helpful from the over the counter brands that are available easily.
Home Remedies and Chemical Treatment
With the help of a variety of home based remedies you can treat nail fungus. So if you do not have the patience for scrubbing or want to perform the long and tedious manicure and pedicure process, you can try these home based remedies for your help.
- Firstly clean the affected area using an antibacterial soap and water. Do this process daily.
- Also give a few minutes for grooming your nails. Apply urea cream (Aluvea, Keralac) to the affected nails to soften them and then at night wrap clean bandages on the feet. Next day, wash your feet and trim your nails properly with the help of a nail clipper and a nail filer.
- After gently filing your nails, use an over-the-counter fungal treatment cream over the nails.
- You can also apply on your toenail Vicks VapoRub. Application of this each day may help to diminish the infection.
- Application of the snakeroot extract every third day to the toenail for the first month, twice in a week for the second month, followed by once in a week for the third month.
- Tea tree oil also works great to clean up the white fungus growth under toenails. You can apply it twice a day on a regular basis.
Apart from the home remedies, you can also go for oral and topical medications, especially in case of severe stage. For this treatment strategies, you will need a subscription by the doctor, as intake of drugs in wrong amount can worsen the case.
Topical medications includes Fungoid Tincture as well as Ciclopirox (Penlac nail lacquer), a prescription treatment. Unfortunately, topical medication doesn’t get deep into the nail enough and so it often fails to reach the fungus. Also sometimes the patients forget to apply it regularly.
The oral medications for treating toenail fungus are terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) as approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If these two drugs are used consistently, both of them have a good success rate. You just have to give a three-month course of treatment for better results. Both of these drugs are not very hard on the liver like other medications, but still blood tests need to be performed to monitor liver function every 4 to 6 weeks. There is one ore medication called fluconazole (Diflucan), which is approved to treat the yeast infections.
How to Get Rid of Thick Skin under Toenails?
Prevention is better than cure. Here are the few options to treat you thick nails. And so before fungus attacks your toe, inculcate any one or a combination of these to cure the thickened nails.
Toss Out Old Shoes
The routine begins with the foot treatment. So firstly toss out your old footwear and bring in the brand new, proper-fitting shoes. As nail fungus thrives in dirty and related areas, its time you throw away your old shoes and socks as well.
Wear Right-Fitting Shoes
Owning two to three pair of shoes is a must. Wear these shoes alternatively. If possible wear open-toed shoes with lightweight cotton socks.
In case the situation worsens, you should visit the required doctor. Prescription by doctors and proper medications like Novartis, Lamisil and Tinacitin offer relief to the patients with thick nails.
Note – Do not use this medication without doctor’s prescription. Correct dose and duration of intake is important.
Antifungal Topical Medications
In some cases application of anti-fungal topical medication to the toenail and underneath it, and to the nail bed also works. If you nail becomes very thick, then you will have to reduce it to some level so that the medication reaches the tissue properly.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is another magic potion for feet affected by fungus. So soak your feet in this vinegar solution after cleaning it with water. You can use this remedy for an entire month to get better results. Also after each soak, rinse your feet with cool water and also moisturize it properly.
Buffing is also a good way to get rid of the thick skin under toenails. So use an emery board or buffing pad to clear away the rough skin underneath the nails and around it. Complete the process by washing the hands, to prevent further spread of infection.
How to Prevent Thick Toenails?
You can prevent the recurrence of the white buildup under toenails or the fungal infection using the following prevention tricks.
- Always keep your feet clean. Wash them with soap and warm water, if possible daily. Pat dry or air dry them with an absorbent towel.
- Try to keep your feet as dry as possible. Also maintain the hygiene of your feet by changing your socks daily. Try to wear cotton socks as they are good moisture absorbent and thus helps in removing the moisture from feet, dry out your shoes by rotating it, and never go for a shoe type that doesn’t allow your feet to breathe and constrict it.
- Keep your foot dry by using a foot powder.
- Whenever you go for a shower or are in the locker room, wear flip-flops or shower shoes or open end shoes.
- Maintain your toenails and never let them grow out of the toe’s end. So proper grooming of your feet is important.
- Trimming of nails should be done using tools that are clean and disinfected.
- In case your nail fungus has just cured then go for a new footwear. It will help you prevent from further infection.
Formation of thick skin under toenails can be dangerous and so one must not ignore the condition. Nails though made of dead cells, are important and must be kept healthy and safe. Thick toenails can also be an indication of fungal infection, which can spread further if untreated. So guys, forget procrastinating and make a routine for your nails now.