Causes of Brittle toenails and how they can be treated

Healthy nails are a sign of a healthy body and nails affected by certain health factors can become brittle and weak. Brittle toenails can be misery for people who wish to wear open sandals and flats in summers or for women who wish to grow their toenails for beauty purposes.

They appear to be chewed upon and have an uneven and split texture at the ends. The condition of toenails changes throughout your lifetime. They can change as you get older and there may be some underlying causes for them to become brittle and for some of these changes, medical help may be required.

Developing brittle and easily broken toenails can be caused by a variety of reasons. some symptoms of brittle toenails include reduced strength in the toenail, toenails that may be thicker than usual due to an abnormal production of keratin, discolored toenails, appearance of white spots on the nail bed and ridged edges of toenails.

What causes toenails to become brittle and weak?

There are reasons for toenails to become brittle and weak, some of them are discussed below.

Age Factor

As we get older, our skin and nails fail to retain their moisture and become dried out and damaged. Toenails, dry out, become weak and brittle and this condition is accelerated by low atmospheric humidity levels. Brittle nails dried out due to old age can be easily treated with soaking and application of moisturizing lotions and foot creams.

Exposure to chemicals

Brittle toenails can be caused due to excessive exposure to chemicals contained in nail polishes. Women who like to paint their toenails on a regular basis are prone to developing brittle toenails and damaging them. If you are careful in the usage of nail paints, this damage can be prevented.

Thyroid disease

a thyroid gland which is not working properly in the body can cause problems for toenails. An overactive and underactive thyroid can both play a role in causing nail problems. But an underactive thyroid condition known as hypothyroidism is the main culprit for causing brittle toenails. Other symptoms include weakened hair, puffy eyelids and hands, and pale or yellow colored skin.

Fungal Infection

Brittle nails are most commonly a result of fungal infection called onychomycosis where the natural shine of toenails is affected apart from thickening and changes to the shape of the nail. Treatments to fungal infections include consuming a course of antifungal medications or topical antifungal medicines such as ciclopirox.

Nutritional deficiencies

Although not a very common cause, nutritional deficiencies can cause brittle toenails. A deficiency of iron or biotin, one of the B-complex vitamins can be blamed for causing damaged, brittle toenails. Your doctor may prescribe you nutrition supplements to fulfill your nutritional needs if you are diagnosed as vitamin deficient.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

This is a medical condition where the blood flow of the toes and fingernail is very easily hindered by a person’s extreme sensitivity to cold. The lack of blood flow can cause the fingernails and toenails to get deprived of oxygen causing them to become brittle.

Brittle toenails can be avoided by using certain home remedies as well. Keeping toenails clean always and trimming them regularly may help to prevent the condition. Moisturizing your toenails with good moisturizers such as coconut oil and almond oil will help retain the moisture required to keep toenails healthy. Avoiding the use of chemicals, frequent use of nail polishes and eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients will definitely help to maintain the health of your toenails.













Michelle M

Conducting research in a laboratory can often feel isolated so Lisa prefers writing about scientific research in healthcare. She contributes stories about the latest research in all fields related to health. Email: lisa@askhealthnews.com

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