Damaged/ Thickened Nails

Many people think they have fungal nail infections when in truth their nails may just be damaged due to a lifetime of sport or activity. It’s always important to make sure you get the correct diagnosis so seeing a podiatrist is essential. Following diagnosis treatments can be discussed.

These nails are caused by damage or trauma, which can mean either a single traumatic incident, like dropping something on the toe or a prolonged trauma caused by an activity or sport such as running.
The trauma affects the formation of the nail cells either temporarily or repeatedly. Where the trauma is sufficient enough the nail will temporarily stop growing and when it does start growing again a line can appear. Sometime there may be some bruising under the nail.

Small repeated trauma can cause the nail cells to form not one row at a time but one row of cells on top of another which can lead to discolouration and a bumpy appearance to the nail. This nail can often be misdiagnosed as fungal.

The nails can be discoloured either darkly from bruising underneath the nail, normally around the cuticle, or yellow or white due to more than one nail cell forming on top of another.

What differs in this case from fungal nails is that the damage can present on the same toes of both feet, generally this is the case of the little toenails.

Your podiatrist will diagnose what the nail problem is and why it is happening. Following this the podiatrist may choose to cut the nails to remove the damaged area or reduce any presenting thickness to make the nails appear more “normal”.