We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Treat Thick Toenails?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The best way to treat thick toenails may vary depending on the source of the problem. In some cases, toenails may just be thicker than average and require routine pedicures to keep them looking their best. Other times thick nails may be caused by an underlying fungal infection, especially if other symptoms are present at the same time. Underlying illnesses can also cause thick, brittle, or discolored nails so the medical condition must be treated before the nails can be returned to their normal consistency.

For nails that are naturally thick in nature, after being examined by a physician for fungal and other infections, the best way to treat thick toenails is to groom them. Filing them may help to remove some of the thickness, while adding colored polish can make women's toenails more visually appealing. For the best results you may consider visiting a nail parlor or day spa to have your toenails professionally treated.

Thickness caused by infection is often cured with over-the-counter treatments. These can be found in most pharmacy or grocery store. If store bought creams do not improve the appearance of your nails within a week or so, it’s best to see a doctor determine if you are suffering from a fungal infection. If so, your doctor may give you a prescription strength medication to treat your toenails. In the case of an underlying illness, additional tests may be needed in order to diagnose and treat the ailment.

Underlying conditions that may cause thick toenails include injury to the foot or nail bed and skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Even if you don’t have any visible rashes during the time of diagnosis, your doctor may be able to treat thick toenails by discussing past symptoms or injuries.

Symptoms other than thickness that you may want to look out for include peeling, brittle nails, yellow discoloration, foot irritation and burning or itching, or a skin rash. Make sure you write down any symptoms and any treatments you have tried over the counter before you go for an exam. This will give your doctor a more clear picture of what is going on.

Since most toenail thickness is caused by a fungal infection, it is important to practice preventative measures in order to treat thick toenails before they occur or to prevent a re-occurrence. Wear plain socks that are made of cotton or another absorbent material to avoid sweat from saturating your feet. Change your socks and shoes after physical activity which causes sweating, and wear breathable shoes when you won’t be able to change them for several hours.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Anna10 — On May 25, 2011

@Hannah77-Yes, you're right, it can be normal for older folks to have thick, even yellow, toenails. So long as there are no signs of nail fungus, they're probably fine.

By dagaZ — On May 24, 2011

I have chronic toe fungus that makes my toenails thick and discolored. I had to stop taking the medication for it, due to an interaction with my heart medicine. Now I just have to live with it, which isn't easy.

I live in San Diego, California, where sandals are year round footwear. Having thick, unsightly toenails is an embarrassment that I don't think many people think about. I won't wear sandals or go barefoot. It might seem silly, but it can be really distressing in social situations or when dating.

By Hannah77 — On May 23, 2011

I work as a caregiver and it's my experience that thick toenails are pretty common amongst the elderly. I've never had an elderly client that didn't have thick toenails. I just thought it was part of the aging process. I've never noticed signs of toe fungus. Should I be more concerned or am I right, it’s just a sign of normal aging?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.