The human nail is a hard plate of densely packed keratinised cells that protects the end of the digit – the finger or the toe. Although very similar structures, people may think quite differently of their toenails and their fingernails, perhaps because the toenails are often hidden away in shoes, whereas fingernails are almost always on display.

However, toenails often require special attention because they can be prone to problems as a result of being kept within the closed environment of the shoes. These problems include thickening of the nail or ingrowing toenails due to pressure, and increased risk of toenail infection due to the closed humid shoe environment.

So, although some people may give little thought to their toenails except to occasionally cut them, healthy nails mean you are more likely to want to show them off!

Many people aged 25-65 would prefer nicer looking toenails and 49% of women are dissatisfied with their toenails.

Thick toenails can be difficult to look after…

Cutting the nails can be a difficult task for people with thick toenails making them difficult to cut. This difficulty in cutting the toenails can mean that it is done less frequently and so as a result the nails become longer, which can increase discomfort and affect their appearance.

Thick hard toenails can cause discomfort …

Toenails that have become thick and hard can cause discomfort to the individual as they press down onto the nail bed or dig into the skin around the nails. Pressure on the toenails from shoes, or even from bed clothes, can be quite uncomfortable. People with thick hard toenails can also experience discomfort from the nails rubbing or catching on the shoes.

Thick hard toenails can be unsightly …

Normal, healthy toenails are usually a pinkish colour, as the rich blood supply to the nail bed can be seen through the nail, with a white tip. When toenails become thickened there is a build up of the keratinised cells resulting in the nail appearing yellow in colour (in much the same way as thick skin or callus appears yellow). This discolouration can be rather unsightly.

Read more about the treatment of thick hard toenails here.

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