Deformed Toenails: What Causes Them and How Do You Treat Them?

Discomfort, discoloration, and distention are just a few of the many side effects of deformed toenails. Because there are a variety of symptoms and reasons that determine why a toenail deforms, it can be difficult to diagnose the problem. Therefore, we will cover a few of the most common reasons leading to this problem.

Psoriasis and Your Toes

In many cases, psoriasis is the most common reason for toenail deformity. It can be defined as a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that can affect the whole body, but most frequently affects areas near or on the elbows, knees, scalps and fingernails. The disease causes itchiness, redness, and thick, dry scales in patches on the skin. Regular skin growth should occur monthly; however, psoriasis forces the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, to grow a new layer of skin every 3-4 days.
In the case of toenails, this uninhibited growth causes them to grow much longer than they should, appear pinkish in color and irregularly thick. Unfortunately, science has not quite solved the chemical riddle of how or where psoriasis originates; however, research has suggested that it may be due to congenial or genetic factors. Treatments for the disease vary, but the most common are steroid-based creams that are rubbed directly onto the affected area(s). Although psoriasis is prevalent, it may not be the reason for your deformed toenails.

Fight for Freedom from Fungus

Fungal infection is a strong contender for many cases of deformed toenails. This type of infection is typically easy to spot because it causes the toenails to become thick or flaky, and yellow, brown, or black in color. The caveat is that these infections can be a bit more difficult to treat because they grow on dead tissue such as fingernails and toenails, hair, and the skin. Treatments typically require the patient to take a pill since fungi infections originate in the nail plate, which may be difficult to access with creams. Fungi needs a warm and moist environment to grow, so following the tips below will cull its growth:

  • Do not wear socks or shoes that are dirty, damp, or wet from sweat or water.
  • Wear 100 percent cotton socks.
  • Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder in your socks and shoes.
  • Do not wear shoes that will press your toes together, such as stilettos or wing-tipped shoes.
    Fungi, unlike psoriasis, are easier to treat because the origins of these infections are clearer. It is worth noting that infections are not always the cause of deformed toenails, and injury is just as likely to spark this problem.

    Injuries can cause deformed toenails?

    In short, yes, they can. Severe physical damage to the cuticle of the nail may cause the nail to never grow properly again. The root of the nail is made up of specialized cells, so damaging these can cause discoloration, swelling and irregular contouring of the nail plate. If your nail deformity is becoming too much to bear and you must cut it, follow these tips:

    • Follow the natural curvature of the toenail when cutting it.
    • Do not cut down the side of the nail.
    • Use surgical-quality nail clippers.
    • Don’t use the same trimmer or nail file on healthy nails and infected nails.
      These points touch on some of the preventative measures you can take to reduce pain and stop the spread of infection, but in any case you should contact us for full treatment if you are suffering from deformed toenails.

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