Thickened Nails: What Causes Them and How to Treat Them

Thickened nails, also known as onychauxis, can affect individuals of all ages and genders. The condition is characterized by the thickening and hardening of the nails, which can be unsightly and uncomfortable.

We are supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. Learn moreLast update on 8th December 2023 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

While thickened nails are not typically a cause for concern, they can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or injury.

There are several potential causes of thickened nails, including fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema, and trauma to the nail bed. In addition, certain medications and medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disorders may contribute to the development of thickened nails.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to alleviate the symptoms associated with onychauxis. However, it is important to first identify the underlying cause in order to determine the most effective course of treatment.

Symptoms Of Thickened Nails

Thickened nails, also known as onychauxis, are a common condition that affects both fingernails and toenails.

This condition is characterized by thick and hardened nails that can be difficult to cut or trim with regular nail clippers.

Individuals with thickened nails may also notice changes in the color and texture of their nails, such as yellowing or darkening of the nail plate.

In some cases, thickened nails can become painful and may even lead to complications such as ingrown toenails or infections.

While this condition can occur at any age, it is most common in older adults due to natural aging processes that affect the health of the nails.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of thickened nails include trauma or injury to the nail bed, fungal infections, psoriasis, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes or peripheral arterial disease.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections of the nails, otherwise known as onychomycosis, can cause the nails to thicken and become discolored. Symptoms of fungal infections can include brittle nails, white or yellow spots on the nail, and a foul odor.

Symptoms Of Fungal Infections

When it comes to fungal infections, symptoms can vary depending on the affected area of the body.

However, some common symptoms of fungal infections that lead to thickened nails include yellow or brown discoloration, brittleness or crumbling of the nail, and a distorted shape or texture.

In some cases, there may also be a foul odor emanating from the affected nail.

It is important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to fungal infections and can also be caused by other conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

Therefore, it is essential to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional before starting any treatment plan.

Treatment For Fungal Infections

Once a fungal infection has been diagnosed, proper treatment is necessary to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage to the affected area.

Treatment for fungal infections typically involves the use of antifungal medications such as topical creams or oral medications.

In some cases, a combination of both types of medication may be prescribed.

It is important to follow the recommended treatment plan and complete the full course of medication even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished.

Additionally, adopting good hygiene practices such as keeping affected areas clean and dry can also help prevent the spread of fungal infections.

Psoriasis And Eczema

Psoriasis and eczema are both chronic skin conditions that can lead to thickened nails.

Psoriasis is a condition where the immune system attacks healthy skin cells, causing inflammation and rapid cell turnover.

Eczema, on the other hand, is a condition where the skin becomes inflamed, red, itchy, and cracked.

Both of these conditions can affect the nails, causing them to become thickened and discolored.

Treatment options for psoriasis and eczema include topical creams or ointments, oral medications, and light therapy.

However, treating the underlying skin condition is key in resolving thickened nails caused by psoriasis or eczema.

It’s important to consult with a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Trauma To The Nail Bed

As mentioned in the previous section, psoriasis and eczema can lead to thickened nails. However, trauma to the nail bed is also a common cause. This can include injury to the nail such as hitting it with a heavy object or repetitive stress from activities like running or playing an instrument.

In some cases, fungal infections can also lead to thickened nails. Treatment options for thickened nails vary depending on the underlying cause. For trauma-related thickening, proper nail care and protection may be enough for the issue to resolve on its own.

However, if a fungal infection is present, antifungal medication may be necessary. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to remove the affected nail. Therefore, it is important to seek professional medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment of thickened nails caused by trauma or any other underlying condition.

Medical Conditions And Medication

A number of medical conditions and medications can lead to thickened nails. Diabetes, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and fungal infections are some of the medical conditions that can cause nail thickening.

Certain medications such as chemotherapy drugs, antifungal medications, and beta-blockers can also result in thickened nails.

In addition to thickening, these conditions and medications may also cause other changes in the nails such as discoloration or deformities.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect that a medical condition or medication may be causing your nail thickening. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause and may include topical or oral medication, surgical removal of affected nails, or management of the underlying condition.


Thickened nails are a common problem that can be caused by various factors, including fungal infections, psoriasis and eczema, trauma to the nail bed, medical conditions, and medication.

The symptoms of thickened nails include discoloration, brittleness, and an abnormal shape. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Fungal infections are one of the most common causes of thickened nails. These infections can be treated with antifungal medications or topical creams.

Psoriasis and eczema can also cause thickened nails and may require specialized treatment from a dermatologist.

Trauma to the nail bed can cause thickening of the nails as well. This type of injury can be caused by repetitive stress or a single traumatic event.

Medical conditions such as diabetes and circulation problems can also contribute to thickened nails.

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing symptoms of thickened nails, don’t wait until they become unbearable before seeking medical attention. Whether it’s due to fungal infections or other underlying health issues, there are treatments available that can help alleviate your discomfort.

So don’t suffer in silence – get help today! Remember: healthy nails are happy nails!