How to Get Rid of Thick Toenails Fast and Naturally
Are one or more of your toenails becoming thicker than the others and become more difficult to cut?
Are they discolored, smelly, thickened, and just downright ugly?
After suffering from thick toenails for 5+ years, I can understand your frustrations. I want to help you and provide you with all the information you need to know about thick toenails.
In this article, you are going to learn the signs of thickened toenails caused from fungus, treatment options, and some of the most effective products to restore your fungus-infested nails.
Causes of thick toenails?
There is a million reasons on why this occurs but the most common is due to what is called Onychomycosis or also called a nail fungal infection.
When it comes to toenail fungus you’re not alone. More than 50% of the people in your podiatrist office are sitting in there for this condition. Approximately 10% of Americans suffer from this and it goes up to 20% on Americans over 60.
Other causes of nail thickness due to trauma to the toenail is called Onychauxis. This can be caused through various things happening such as something heavy being dropped on your feet, getting stepped on, or wearing poorly fitted shoes.
When shoes are either too big or small this allows for friction which can result in irritation and thickness.
Nail thickness can also be caused from diabetes. One of the unfortunate side effects of diabetes is poor circulation, especially to lower extremities.
Since the blood flow is poor, the distribution of nutrients is inefficient and deprives the nails of what they need for growth.
Psoriasis is another condition that can cause nail thickness and is typically characterized by areas of red, raised and flaky skin that may look like scales. This disease can also result in pitting and irregular growth in the nail beds of your fingers and toes.
If your nail thickness is due to poor circulation, there is a few possibilities to increase your circulation.
The following can help blood flow to the extremities.
- Exercise – physical activities can help increase the blood flow to your feet and legs.
- Aerobic activity – This entails activities such as bicycling, brisk walking and swimming. Much like exercise it will increase the circulation to your extremities.
- Support socks – When used correctly they can increase the blood flow in your legs. They must be used correctly or they can be harmful. Talk to your doctor and how to use them properly.
If you’re thickened nails are caused by a fungal infection then there will also be discoloration of the nail along with brittleness, typically under the nail. The discoloration of the nail may white, yellow, black and even green. A fungal infection can also make your feet and nails to omit a bad odor.
Another sign that your thickness is caused by fungus, is if you recently had athlete’s foot or tinea. The same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot is also the same kind that likes to deteriorate your nails.
If you have any questions or are unsure if your nail thickness is caused from a fungus then I would recommend you speak with your doctor or a podiatrist.
Signs of Thick Toenails From Fungus
If you are like me, then you might have disregarded the signs of toenail fungus until it was too late. For me, it didn’t cause pain at first so I ignored the issue until it was a bigger problem.
These are the most common signs of thickened toenails caused by fungus:
- Discoloration (yellow, white, brown, and sometimes even black)
- Brittle nails
- Thickened nails
- Unpleasant smell
- Athlete’s foot
- Pain surrounding nails and nail beds
- Curved nails
Treatment Options (Scroll Down for the Best One)
The best way to treat your thick toenails varies on the underlying cause.
For all cases of thickened toenails, clipping your toenails correctly and some work with a nail file can help with the thickness and overall appearance. If you are not comfortable with filing your toenails yourself then you could go to a podiatrist, who can do this for you.
They may also used a mechanical grinder to file down the nail, which can be less painful and quicker. Although this typically assists the appearance of the nails, it will not tackle any of the underlying issues such as a fungal infection.
In order to get healthy toenails, you need to address what is causing the thickness.
If you have a fungal infection then there are a myriad of treatments you can follow. The treatments range in price, effectiveness and side effects of the products. The treatments vary from topical creams, sprays, oral medications and laser treatment.
Prescription Oral Medications
There are several prescription medications on the market for toenail fungus and this includes, Sporanox® and Lamisil®. These medications are designed to be taken orally, travel through the blood stream and all the way to the nail matrix. The nail matrix is where the nail grows from.
The oral medications are extremely potent and have a list of side effects that are associated with them. One of the biggest downsides of these medications is that they can cause liver problems which means that constant blood tests and check-ups are required. That means they are not suitable for everyone with fungal infections.
Oral medications are sort of a “last resort” type of solution for toenail fungus. These are typically for people with extreme fungal infections or have exhausted every other option. Again, these types of medications come with a laundry list of side effects along with constant doctor appointments and check-ups.
Pros and Cons of Prescription Medication
- Taken orally
- Can treat severe cases of fungus
- Must be monitored closely
- Extremely harsh on the liver
- Constant blood tests
- Cannot drink alcohol while on this prescription
- Testing required before starting this treatment
Laser Treatment for Fungal Toenails
One of the newest types of treatment options for fungus infections under toenails is the use of laser treatment. The idea of the laser is that it heats up the nail matrix, where the nail grows, and kills the fungus. The lasers heat up the nail bed to temperatures ranging from 104°F-140°F (40°C-60°C).
There have been a few small studies on the effect of laser treatment on toenails, but the studies haven’t been completed on a large scale to come up with anything conclusive. The sample sizes of the studies are not large enough to be medically relevant.
Laser treatment also has a few downsides. As you could imagine, treating a fungal infection with lasers is not very cost efficient. Currently, laser treatment costs approximately $800 per session and most people begin to see results after 4 sessions. The expense is typically not covered by healthcare insurance which means you will be responsible for the full cost of the treatment.
Not only is laser treatment expensive, but it can be painful. The treatment requires your toe to be heated to 140°F. After asking a few people who have tried this method of treatment, the conclusion was that it was very painful and they often had to ask their podiatrist to stop in the middle of sessions and take a break due to the pain. They also said that the pain lingers for a day or two after a session which caused discomfort walking or moving.
Pros and Cons of Laser Treatment
- Sessions are only 30 minutes
- FDA approved
- Can paint nails after treatment
- No recovery period
- Extremely pricey (Roughly $1,000)
- Not covered by insurance
- Not 100% effective
- Multiple sessions are required
There is a lot of home remedies circulating the Internet that work with limited success. I have tried a whole spectrum of different home remedies and have seen success with some.
Many home remedies suggest you are able to kill fungus by soaking your feet in Listerine, apple cider vinegar, and even bleach mixed with water or various concentrations of oils such as tea tree oil.
I have tried a large amount of these at home remedies and tested them for effectiveness on my own toenail fungus. I dedicated a whole post on home remedies that cure fungus. From my experience, Listerine foot baths, vinegar foot baths, and Vicks Vapor rub did not do much for my fungus.
Pros and Cons of Home Remedies
- Effective for minor/moderate fungal infections
- Can be done at home
- Products are easily found
- Do not work for everyone
- Not 100% effective for severe to moderate infections
- Can irritate skin
Natural Remedies for Thick Nails
Natural remedies have been on the rise. They combine effectiveness with little to none side effects.
Some of the best natural remedies for thickened toenails is the use of essential oils. Essential oils such as tea tree oil, oil of oregano, and cinnamon oil.
My mom used natural remedies with a holistic approach to cure her toenail fungus and kept it away for good. Believe me, the results were surprising.
Pros and Cons of Natural Remedies
- Natural and organic ingredients
- Generally safer when compared to conventional treatments
- Effective for nail fungus
- May take longer for larger nail infections
- Some have an herbal smell
Over the Counter Topical Anti-Fungal Creams
When it comes to anti fungal creams, one may be overwhelmed with the amount on the market.
The truth is though, only a few actually get rid of the toenail fungus that is causing your thick toenails. Many of the over the counter creams can be very expensive because treating fungus is an ongoing process that requires months of creams.
Pros and Cons of Natural Remedies
- Easy to use like lotion
- Great for skin fungal infections such as athlete's foot
- Can take longer for severe nail infections
- Many different creams to choose from - hard to know which ones are good
Creams such as tolnaftate have proven to be very effective in the treatment of toenail fungus. I write about them in more detail on my blog which you can view by clicking on best toenail fungus treatment.
What you are about to see…
…Are the best products for thickened and discolored nails caused from a nail infection. They are personally vetted by Toe Fungus Journey and are products that have been highly rated or personally used by my family and I to get rid of our fungus for good.
- Clinically proven
- Contain natural ingredients
- Designed specifically for thicker toenails
- Helps in getting healthy and supple nails.
The Best Products for Thickened Toenails (Holy Grail Products)
Please note that in order to make these treatments more effective, it is recommended to soften the nails using a foot soak for fungus and then clipping your thick nails and filing them down.
- Easy to apply
- All Organic herbal ingredients
- Lasts most nail fungal infections
- Removes 99.9% of fungus in 4 weeks
- Clinically Proven
- Comes with brush for application
- Can irritate skin (especially if you have sensitive skin)
- Requires application 2X a day
- Can take longer with more severe infections
- Shouldn’t be used while pregnant
Zane Hellas Fungus Stop is one of the products that I have personally used and seen results with after suffering with toe fungus for 5+ years.
It is a blend of organic essential oils such as oil of oregano and tea tree oil which have been studied and shown to have anti-fungal properties.
In addition, it contains the active ingredient, carvacrol, which is found in oil of oregano.
We recently reviewed this product in-depth and went over all the ingredients. Click here to view the full review. This treatment is also great with soaking into hard and thick nails and treating the underlying fungus.
- Maximum strength
- Uses Undecylenic Acid - great for nail fungus and other fungal infections
- Contains organic essential oils
- Effective for fungus caused by candida albicans
- Easy to apply - comes with brush
- FDA Approved
- 90 Day money back guarantee
- Thick viscosity - better absorption into the nails
- Have to apply twice a day
- Takes longer on more severe fungus infections
- 30 ML bottle
Funginix is a popular brand of toenail fungus treatments that has been getting a lot of buzz lately.
It is different from Zane Hellas because it does not utilize organic essential oils but rather undecylenic acid.
Undecylenic acid is commonly used to treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, jock itch and nail fungus. Funginix uses undecylenic acid because it is fantastic for infections caused by candida albicans such as toenail fungus. It relieves itching, burning, irritation, and other symptoms caused by fungi.
Similar to Zane Hellas, they are both clinically proven to work, however, one key difference is that Funginix is FDA approved.VIEW PRICING ON AMAZON
- Uses clinically proven tolnaftate (great for fighting fungus)
- Odorless treatment
- FDA Compliant
- Absorbs quickly into the nail
- Penetrates deep into the nail beds
- Dropper bottle
- Some report slower results for severe fungal infections
- One bottle lasts 60 days approximately
NailRENEW Antifungal is one product that we recommend people try if they feel like they have tried everything.
It utilizes clinically proven tolnaftate which is popular for treating athlete’s foot but is also effective for nail fungus. Toe Fungus Journey believes fully in the ability of tolnaftate cream to clear up nail fungus and other fungal infections.
NailRENEW combines the surefire tolnaftate with aloe vera which has soothing healing properties to help restore the nails and surrounding skin.
One unique thing about this product is the bottle in which it comes in. It allows for easy application with the state of the art dropper bottle design (I prefer brush applicators that come with Zane Hellas and Funginix).
Lastly, NailRENEW is FDA compliant and results can be seen within a month.VIEW PRICING ON AMAZON
- Organic and Wild Oil of Oregano
- Can be used orally or directly on the nail (Use carrier oil if orally)
- Contains 86% carvacrol
- Eye dropper applicator
- Can irritate skin
- Results can be slower on larger fungal infections
- Can be strong if taken orally
I think the reviews of this product speak for itself.
Oil of oregano is found in the Zane Hellas Fungus Stop listed above. The difference is that Fungus Stop is a blend of essential oils and Zane Hellas Oil of Oregano is just organic oregano oil.
Don’t let that discourage you from trying this product. The reason why this product (and Zane Hellas Fungus Stop) is so effective at treating your nail fungus is because it uses oil of oregano that contains carvacrol.
This active ingredient has been intensively studied and shows to be one of the most powerful antifungal agents in the world.
Now this product can be taken orally or directly on the nails – we recommend putting it directly on the nails. If you do decide to take it orally, be sure to use a carrier oil like olive oil.
Lastly, this product is 100% wild and organic oil of oregano with 86% minimum of carvacrol which is one potent cocktail to battle toe fungus.
Also, be careful not to apply to the skin and only on the nail. Skin application can result in irritation and discomfort.VIEW PRICING ON AMAZON
- Relaxes and heals feet
- Removes and softens dead skin
- Fixes cracked skin
- Smells great
- Recommended to soak feet twice a day
- Takes time to soak feet (15 min)
- Runs out semi-fast
Purely Northwest has one of the most popular and reviewed foot soaks on the Internet that will not only relax your feet but also aid in fighting fungus.
Purely Northwest’s Foot Soak combines the soothing qualities of epsom salts with the fungus fighting power of tea tree oil to create one of the best foot soaks on the market.
All you have to do to use this product is soak your feet approximately once a day for 15 minutes which may not be the best if you are a busy person.
But this soak is handy at softening up the nails and getting them prepped for clipping which may be difficult if your nails are thickened.
In addition, the soak is great for getting to the hard to reach places that other treatments may not reach.
Be sure to rehydrate your skin after using this relaxing and effective foot soak with a lotion or anti-fungal foot balm.VIEW PRICING ON AMAZON
My Personal Recommendation
With 5+ years of battling toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, I have seen what works for me and what didn’t and want to share with you my information.
From home remedies to organic treatments, I tried everything that I could afford to do. I wrote a whole page about the ultimate toenail fungus remedy.
In that article, I write about what personally works for me and a solution that worked for my parents which were both natural treatments. Believe me, these treatments will change your life and have you living with the nails you’ve always wanted.